ubu is delighted that the steering group to investigate the use of hospitals for long term care of mental health patients will talk to those most closely affected; consumers and their families.
The steering group is being set up after the Winterbourne View scandal where residents of a care home were physically assaulted and abused by people they trusted.
The Government announced in the months afterwards that hospitals should no longer be used for the care of people with learning difficulties, or who presented challenging behavior, they even set a target, this June, for anyone still in a hospital to be moved to an alternative setting.
That deadline has been missed and now the government wants to know why and what else could be done … uStep is the answer!
We have already said that we believe alternative forms of care and support should be looked at and have welcomed the Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings to visit any of our supports to see how it works.
The Care Minister, Norman Lamb visited one of our Leeds supports in March and said that he thought uStep was a radical innovative approach to caring for vulnerable adults and one that he hoped would be duplicated and went onto to admit, that too many people were still being cared for in hospital or the wrong kind of setting.
The steering group will examine why that is still the case and has a brilliant opportunity to ask the right people, the right questions and then come up with some workable solutions. They have already said that one size does not fit all and that alternative forms of care must be examined.
If the Chief Nursing Officer chooses not to visit a uStep support, then we hope she chooses to at least look at the evidence that it provides as a realistic solution for vulnerable adults and also for society.
There are still 2500 people being cared for in long term hospital beds. At £6,000 a week that is a very expensive way of providing a not very effective means of support for some of the most vulnerable people in or society.
uStep has demonstrated it can improve the lives of the people we serve. Even the most complex people have shown an improvement within weeks. As well as helping people to integrate more fully into their communities and become citizens, it provides society with a value premium.
The people we serve reduce their dependence on support as their independence and confidence grows. They rely less on others, as they take decisions about their own lives and turn their dreams into reality.
The Winterbourne View steering group has a unique opportunity to make a rea difference to the lives of many vulnerable adults by investigating the alternative methods of care and support fully, reporting openly and then recommending corrective action and implementation robustly. Let’s hope it works.