Crippen revisits the continuing abuse of disabled people in institutions

Did you know that calls to address the scandal of learning disabled people and those with Autism inappropriately locked up in long-stay institutions date back more than 70 years when it was estimated then that there were over 50,000 people living in these so called long-stay hospitals.

Since then, there have been several exposures regarding these institutions and the alleged abuse towards their ‘residents’ by care staff. These included the Ely Hospital scandal over 50 years ago and the Long Care inquiry in 1998.

The most memorable of these being the Winterbourne View Scandal where serious allegations of abuse were uncovered and exposed in a Panorama documentary just over 10 years ago. Since then there has been further exposures of abuse including Whorlton Hall in County Durham which was shut down in 2020.

The clinical commissioning groups who are responsible for placing most of these disabled people into these institutions are still spending on average £3,500 per week per person, which is far more expensive than providing support in the community. A recent NHS report shows that over 2,000 people are still locked away costing a total of around £364 million per year. This is despite the evidence that having support in the community saves money, and more importantly, it means disabled people have the right to make choices on how they live their lives.

In the years following these abuse exposures, the government have made repeated pledges to drastically reduce the number of people facing seclusion and segregation in similar settings. But those pledges were broken and only one empty sentence on social care in the 2021 Queen’s speech is the result.

Speaking to Disability News Service (DNS) Andrew Lee, director of People First (Self Advocacy), who was one of the disabled campaigners to speak out about Winterbourne View 10 years ago, said that he believed there had been “no change” in those 10 years and that people with learning difficulties had rights “on paper”, but regulators “have not got the courage to use the teeth that parliament gave them”.

However, it also emerged this week that two of the business-people who ran Castlebeck, the company that owned Winterbourne View, are now directors of Kedleston Group, which runs a series of independent special schools and care homes for disabled children.

The BBC reported concerns from current and former staff and parents that one of Kedleston’s special schools, Leaways School in East London – which charges day pupils more than £50,000 a year to attend, was prioritising profits over the support needs of the disabled children who attended.

So, tell me folks. How on earth are those that allowed the abuse to take place at Winterbourne View now allowed to run a ‘special educational needs’ school for disabled children? Something smells, and it’s not just the Minister for Education’s supper time kippers!

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

An MP is holding a glass jar with a set of false teeth sitting in it. He is looking at another man in a suit who is holding a piece of paper that reads ‘investigation into Winterbourne View abuse – 2011’. This man has no teeth. The MP is saying: “What’s the point of giving you teeth if you’re not going to use them?!”

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by A6er on 23/06/2021 at 11:05

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain! .


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