“Our plea is for real and sustained action”

The last week has seen several reports published about people with learning disabilities and autistic people.

The Health and Social Care Committee Report has been published following the inquiry into the treatment of autistic people and individuals with learning disabilities that started in February 2021.

The committee raises many points on how the current position for many people with learning disabilities or autistic people is an unacceptable violation of their human rights’.

The report highlights that successive governments have failed to address the issues.

The report goes on to say:

‘this is a matter of delivery and not further review’.

Aisha Edwards, a self advocate on Lewisham People’s Parliament and a member of the Right2Home campaign says:

“Basically what they are saying is what I would have said.

I like that they have said there should be more community support.

It should be local and involve families, as they know the person best.

Don’t wait until things go wrong as it causes so much havoc and problems.

I think the staff in these places do need the right training and then things might not go so badly wrong.

The problem is they have said they will close ATUs before.

It’s been said before and we don’t want to go around in circles.

I know we have to go through the right channels, but I’m trying to stay calm because I’m boiling inside.

We will see what happens, but we will keep the pressure on!”

The Department of Health and Social Care has also published a response to the report and recommendations from Baroness Hollins and the Oversight Panel’s review of the Independent Care (Education) and Treatment Reviews.

Ivan Olbrechts, family and friends Rep Body member who attended the Select Committee as a witness said:

“The Select Committee report is welcome in that it seeks to revise the weaknesses in previous reports and address issues raised. 

We were pleased to be included, along with people with lived experience, in the review.

The proposals, alongside the Mental Health Act proposals and the Long Term Segregation response from Helen Whately MP, give the opportunity for the whole system change that is so desperately needed. 

But we’ve seen so many reports and so many promises before.

The abuses at Whorlton Hall may well not have happened if the recommendations from the Winterbourne View report had been implemented. 

The challenge, and our plea, is for real and sustained action to remove barriers and deliver on the recommendations so we can all see meaningful change”.