The Restraint Reduction Network are pleased to welcome the Building the Right Support Action Plan published by the Department for Health and Social Care. We share the vision set out in the plan which states that, “people with a learning disability and autistic people are equal citizens able to fulfill their potential. They are supported to live full lives in their community, in their home, with access to the care that is right for them, when and where they need it. Just like everyone else.”
For decades we have known that detaining people in hospitals, away from their families, is at best inappropriate and at worst, inhumane and degrading. Since 2001, when Valuing People was published, there have been a succession of similar reports all written in earnest and outlining the concerted efforts that will be made to provide the right support for people. Unfortunately, these efforts have failed to meet the government’s own target and there are currently more than 2,000 people who remain locked away in hospitals.
Alexis Quinn, Manager of the Restraint Reduction Network, states that “too often people are receiving inappropriate treatment, in inhumane environments, and subject to high levels of restrictive practices which are traumatic”.
This Action Plan provides new impetus to support autistic people and people with a learning disability to live at home and in their communities. Minister Gillian Keegan, in her Foreword rightly points out that, “no one organisation or system can make this happen on their own”. We know that systems change can only happen where there is good leadership, a shared vision, and where excellent practitioners role model the turning of policy into practice. The Restraint Reduction Network also believes that significant new investment in the community is required along with increased accountability that ensure standards are set and maintained.
We look forward to working with our partners to enact the much-needed changes outlined in the Action Plan. However, we remain concerned that this, again, may not be enough to stop this national scandal and suggest the action will need to be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect new thinking and evidence.