There I was. Reflecting on grief, music and summer. When a mate bounced the CQC Review of Learning Disability Services into my inbox. The core gist cut and pasted below in italics.

About the inspections This review focused on services that provide care for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours. Our inspectors carried out 150 unannounced inspections that looked at two national standards. These standards related to:

  • care and welfare.
  • safeguarding (protecting people’s health and wellbeing, and enabling them to live free from harm).

The inspections took place at 71 NHS Trusts, 47 private services and 32 care homes. Our inspectors were supported by 51 professional advisors and 53 Experts by experience (people who receive care or carers).

Our findings

Five of the 150 inspections were pilots and were not included in the overall analysis. Therefore, of 145 inspections:

  • 35 met both standards.
  • 41 met both standards with minor concerns.
  • 69 failed to meet one or both standards.

Many failings are a direct result of care that is not centred on the individual or tailored to their needs. Our findings show that some assessment and treatment services are admitting people for long spells of time, and discharge arrangements are taking too long to arrange. Commissioners now need to review the care plans for people receiving this type of care so that people can move on to community-based services.

  • Almost 50 per cent of hospitals and care homes that were inspected did not meet national standards.
  • Staff needed to be given appropriate training in restraint techniques.
  • Safeguarding concerns were identified in 27 care services.

Follow up inspections

Our inspectors have returned to 34 services where we found most serious concerns. These services have provided us with action plans on how they will meet national standards. We have also followed up on all 27 concerns relating to people’s safety and have confirmed that these services have contacted their safeguarding team in their local authority.

Deep breath.

Please read (and re-read) the above carefully. And then take another deep breath.

How can such damning statistics, reporting on the lives of people, be so carelessly presented and, at the same time, dismissed?

35/145 services were doing what they should be doing. Eh? Less than 25%. People ‘accessing’ these services are those who typically need looking out for, care,  encouragement and, often (don’t shudder), protection. Society incorporates (or should incorporate) a diverse range of people with different abilities, capacities and capabilities but state organised services are failing to provide ‘good enough’ support in 75% services reviewed?

The CQC state that ‘Commissioners now need to review care plans for people’ so they can move on to effective services’. Wow. Can there be a greater exercise in blandness? Ineffectiveness?

Did you get that commissioners? You all busy at it? Reviewing these care plans?

As if.

What a load of billy bullshit. Learning disabled people are so off the radar when it comes to commissioners I don’t suppose many of them would have any idea this review exists. Total farce.

But from the CQC perspective, the ball has been chucked elsewhere. Into next door’s garden. Never to be retrieved. Doesn’t matter really. Because it doesn’t really matter. These are learning disabled people we’re talking about.

More damning statistics before the close of the statement; 50% of hospitals didn’t meet national standards, restraining training is lacking (sob) and 27 services had safeguarding issues.

Then the last bit that I’ve re-cut and pasted below. It’s such a masterpiece in billy bullshit and prevarication it deserves a second reading and highlighting:

Our inspectors have returned to 34 services where we found most serious concerns. [Eh? Not all 69? How was this whittled down? Geographical location of inspectors? Availability of inspectors? What was the criteria?]

These services have provided us with action plans on how they will meet national standards. [Er, what does this mean in practice? Is it going to be followed up? Are the action plans appropriate? How soon will these services be of an acceptable quality for the people receiving them?]

We have also followed up on all 27 concerns relating to people’s safety and have confirmed that these services have contacted their safeguarding team in their local authority. [Mmm. That’s a relief then. Are the safeguarding team any good? Is anyone going to check on what they do? Is there a timescale attached to this?]

People are ‘living’ in these settings. On the receiving end of the sub-standard practices identified (over and over again). Practices that no one with any power to effect change is going to do anything about. Harrowing. My heart is broken by what happened to LB in one of these hellholes. I can’t bear to think of those who are enduring similar treatment and misery, at the hands of a care-less system. Monitored by a gutless organisation with seemingly no power to effect any change.

I can’t understand how we can be in 2013 and this unacceptable practice continues. Nonsense reviews published, publicly, without outrage.

Surely someone is going to do something to stop it?

5 thoughts on “Enough.

  1. We are awaiting a meeting with adult safeguarding in Hampshire. It all seems so pointless. The meeting will take place 32 days after we made the initial report. To give the carehome sufficient time “to carry out investigations” (cover their backs). Also because most of our Social Services team have been on leave. No one is really interested, no one really care.
    To live with the disappointment of finding your questions unanswered, your pleas unheard, your pain unrecognised time and time again. Thats exhausting, thats cruel and sadly that is the state of play for families of those with learning disabilities.

  2. We found the LD assessment and “support” attempts, misinformed, cruel, in humane and ultimately dangerous as they caused my daughter to come to serious harm. Is there a strong group campaigning on these serious issues? Please could someone let me know if there is? We must speak out. This blog should be published by a broadsheet brave enough.

  3. I agree we must speak out. Count me right in. I have had my son highly medicated at home rather than anywhere else. I can not trust anywhere to look after him adequately for longer than a few days. Sarah I am there beside you xx

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