THE fallout from Winterbourne View continues with the announcement this week that a steering group set up to investigate the use of hospitals for long term mental health care will include those most affected and their carers.
This steering group has been set up because the Government target to move all vulnerable adults from long term hospital care by June has been missed and there are still 2,500 people in such institutions.
The steering group is great news. ubu has long campaigned for transparency and inclusivity so we’re delighted that there will be an open group discussing this issue. Our position has always been that long term hospital care for the treatment of mental health is no solution.
What we do want is to be invited to contribute as part of the steering group and that the group looks at alternative forms of care for those with learning difficulties.
Our uStep model provides a valid rounded alternative that fits with the Chief Nursing Officer’s statement that where care is concerned ‘one size does not fit all’.
That common sense approach has to be welcomed because we are dealing with individuals who are all unique. uStep has always recognized that because it is an individual care plan is designed by the people we serve in conjunction with their support team.
As part of the work the steering group are doing, we would like the Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings, to visit a uStep setting to see for herself the way that it can dramatically improve the lives of the people we serve. I am sure it would make a positive impact on her and help her shape the future care for vulnerable adults in the UK.
Care Minister, Norman Lamb, visited our Morley setting in March and said then that too many vulnerable adults were still being cared for in inappropriate hospitals and that uStep provided a way of dramatically improving people’s lives.
He also said it had made him realize that far too many people were still being cared for in inappropriate hospital beds.
Acknowledging there is a problem is the first step to eradicating it; setting a goal to do something about is admirable; and establishing a steering group to investigate opportunities is valid, but inaction and procrastination could kill off any chance of change.
The people most adversely affected are those most at risk in society. To do nothing is a dis-service to them and will continue to negatively affect their lives.
The steering group should also be mindful that inaction will continue to cost society in the long term. The cost of a week’s care in hospital for a vulnerable adult can be £6,000. As social care budgets are cut, that cost achieves a greater importance by denying community care of vital funding.
It would be a far more beneficial use of public funds to work with organisations such as ubu to develop and evolve models of care that help individual’s live independent lives in the heart of their chosen communities.
This steering group has a unique opportunity to insist the government listen to its findings, I hope it delivers a comprehensive report that can truly benefit those at its heart – the people we serve.