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BASW England responds to the Inadequate CQC ratings at health and care settings for adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults in England

BASW England condemns the abuse of autistic adults and those with learning disabilities in all forms including unsafe environments, neglect and inhuman and degrading treatment.  We are committed to upholding the human rights of every citizen and challenging human rights abuse just as our Homes not Hospitals campaign states.

BASW England’s Homes not Hospitals campaign was launched because too many people with learning disabilities and autistic adults are being failed by the care system.

In our overarching statement on Human Rights, BASW UK identifies the pressures arising from the pandemic and the difficulties in responding to these which run the risk of undermining entitlements, reducing human rights and removing safeguards.

As social workers our practice is underpinned by social justice, safeguarding and upholding people’s Human Rights, and ensuring people’s voices are heard. That is what the Homes not Hospitals campaign is all about.

BASW England expects all partners we work with to adhere to and promote human rights-based practice and this message is clear in our campaign activity.

We maintain that the use of restraint, including limiting access to the outside world and unsafe environment should always be seen as a failure of the system and care.

We are shocked that a number of Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection summaries and reports have been published with inadequate ratings for health and social provision that provides care and support to autistic people and people with learning disabilities and call for urgent action.

Recent examples include:

St Erme Campus, specifically, is described in its CQC report as "filthy" indicating that the people living there have been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3 The Human rights Act) and remain at risk of harm in an unsafe environment.

Both settings have been deemed unsafe in relation to the staffing levels, which are insufficient to meet people's support needs, leaving them at risk of avoidable harm.

In relation to both settings the report indicates closed cultures; inadequate staffing levels, inexperienced staff with limited understanding of people's needs and how to best meet them, lack of access to the outside world, unsafe environment and neglect causing a detrimental impact on the mental & emotional wellbeing of people living there.

Both St Erme Campus and High View are services services have been rated by the Care Quality Commission as inadequate and in special measures requiring significant improvements within a six month period.

BASW England questions the effectiveness of this response given the risks identified. Further assurances are needed from the CQC in relation to all settings with an inadequate rating and in special measures, that the people who live there will the receive the safe and effective support and services that they are entitled to.

In light of the above, we are looking closely at our Homes not Hospitals campaign to see what action is needed, if any, to ensure we remain as effective as possible going forward.

BASW England is strongly advocating for social care that is properly resourced and funded to be able to deliver the high-quality support and housing that is needed in the community.

Just as our Homes not Hospitals campaign demands, we need to see preventative and joined up approaches in terms of commissioning, human rights-based practice, the role of social work and legal literacy to reduce the risk of situations from reaching crisis point.