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3 Lives: What have we learned, what we need to do

Tragically there is a litany of abuse of those who are made vulnerable by their circumstances and all too often families who are so integral to fulfilling lives for their sons and daughters are alienated and excluded by the systems. Our beliefs, attitudes and values affect the way all of us treat other people. People with a learning disability and their families have not always been served well by the health and care systems. This cannot be right at any level, and all too often has had disastrous and tragic consequences for individuals with a learning disability and their families. This has particularly been the case where people have been admitted into mental health and learning disability hospital environments. What should have been short-term assessment and intervention programmes, have become long-stay institutional care with sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and other relatives stranded many miles from their homes and families for disproportionately long periods of time. This approach signifies the breakdown in personalised care where individuals and families are central to the care planning processes we have in place.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) works closely with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to highlight issues and identify concerns through the inspection programme of services for people with learning disabilities and their families. On the journey back from visiting Lisa, one of the three lives shared at the event, colleagues from CQC and CBF discussed learning from getting it wrong for people translating to concrete actions that make a positive difference. We must learn and change to ensure that behaviours and practices are in place to prevent more people from suffering from poor damaging and brutalising services. We all have a responsibility and we can all do something.