Better care for people with learning disabilities and people with autism

  • Measures include better support from birth, better preventative support in the community and work to improve the quality of care

  • The government has explained how it will reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and autistic people in specialist hospital care by 50% by March 2024 compared to March 2015.

People with learning disabilities and people with autism will receive better and more targeted community care as part of plans to reduce specialist hospital care.

The Building the Right Support action plan released today brings together in one place commitments from across government and public services to ensure that appropriate community support is available for people with learning disabilities and autistic people. This supports the government’s plans to reduce the use of hospital mental health care.

The measures grouped in the action plan include:

  • Accelerating discharges for people with learning disabilities and people with autism through additional targeted funding of over £90m in 2022/23, including:

  • An investment of £40million from the NHS’s long-term plan to continue to improve capacity and crisis support capacity for people with autism and people with a learning disability in all parts of the country and £30m funding to continue to set up key workers for children and young people with the most complex needs

  • A £21million community leave grant to local authorities that will help people with learning disabilities and people with autism to be released

  • Limit the scope of detention for people with learning disabilities and people with autism by reforming mental health law to improve how people are treated by law

  • Build on specialist training for health and care staff to ensure they have the skills to better support people with learning disabilities and people with autism

The plan aims to keep people safe now and make long-term changes for people with learning disabilities and people with autism. It aims to ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect, receive personalized care and treatment, and can live ordinary, independent lives in their own homes as part of the community.

Care and Mental Health Minister Gillian Keegan said:

For too long people with autism and people with learning disabilities have remained hospitalized in mental health units, not necessarily because it was the best place, but because of system failures and lack of facilities. communities to support them.

I am committed to advancing more and faster to ensure that people with learning disabilities and people with autism, of all ages, receive high quality health and social support in their communities when they need it.

The plan prioritises safety and quality of life and includes the proposal in the Mental Health Bill that neither a learning disability nor autism can be considered a mental health disorder requiring compulsory treatment.

Where people would benefit from hospital care, the plan aims to improve the quality of care in mental health hospitals. This includes taking steps to ensure Care Review recommendations are followed, reducing restrictive practices, and targeted support for people in long-term isolation to move into the community or to a less restrictive framework, as the case may be.

This work will be supported by increasing the availability and choice of specialized and supported housing options.

The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced a new requirement for registered providers to ensure their staff receive specific training on learning disabilities and autism, appropriate to their role.

New tasks are also offered to commissioners to ensure that there are the right community services in their area and that there is better monitoring of crisis risk at the local level.

Early intervention is key to ensuring people receive the right support throughout their lives, which includes better educational experiences and early diagnosis. The Government will build on the £10.5m Covid-19 Mental Health Recovery Fund and the NHS Long Term Plan investment of £2.5m, with 2.5 million additional pounds to support delivery of the long-term plan commitment to improve autism diagnostic pathways for children and young people.

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