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BASW: Pooled budgets and multi-agency community teams key to getting more people with a learning disability back into community

The latest set of quarterly data prompted by the Winterbourne View Concordat, which aims to end inappropriate hospital placements for learning disabled people, has shown that 1,702 patients out of a total of 2,615 patients do not have a planned transfer date due to a “clinical decision preventing it”.

BASW professional officer Joe Godden comments:

“Commissioning issues are the key to unlocking this situation, coupled with a real understanding that institutions cause problems.

“The journey to institutions often starts with an individual not getting sufficient support where they live – their home, (this support mainly funded by overstretched social care budgets), the lack of support leads to a breakdown, which leads to admission to hospital – which health pays for.

“In the health setting institutional care kicks in, which can lead to exporting people to even more expensive institutions, the person losing touch with their community and behaviour getting worse.

“Getting people back into communities then becomes a bigger challenge because of deteriorating behaviour and because the NHS won’t easily pay for community care and tend to favour the medical model of behaviour and disability.  

“Where there are genuine pooled budgets and genuine multi-agency community teams that are well resourced, with social workers being given equality of importance in teams, real results are evident.

“Such teams need to be grounded in local authorities, who have access to services that can meet the whole range of people’s needs – including social work, leisure, housing, adult education, community work and local voluntary based services.”