Oh Mencrap… really?

Hearing rumours that Mencrap have lined up a ‘Five years since the Winterbourne View Panorama film was screened’ media thing. Tomorrow.

Sigh.

Really?

What do they actually do…? (Serious question.)

Brilliant journalism uncovered scandalous, horrific, abusive practices in a (privately run) assessment and treatment unit in Bristol back in 2011. This generated a moment that led to a mass signing up of pretty much everyone/organisation connected to learning disability in the UK. To what turned out to be a combo of earnestness, pomp, ridiculous bureaucracy, ultimate pointlessness and ill thought out promises. At enormous cost.

The Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Programme (WVJIP). [Shudder].

A programme that gradually petered out into a Bubb’s breakfast. The 50 odd signees remaining largely silent on their  collective failures.

We’re left with a  handful of dedicated and deeply committed staff at NHS England sticking their fingers in various life dykes with the support of pockets of dedicated and deeply committed groups/individuals across the country.

Pretty much the same number of people continue to (not) live impoverished (and brutalised) lives in assessment and treatment units across the country as there were in 2011. Many, many more are leading impoverished (and brutalised) lives in independent supported ‘homes’. Some of which are run by Mencap.

Winterbourne View has remained the cultural touchstone for repeated and deeply serious failings in learning disability provision. Why? I suspect partly because it suits Mencap. A quick win for (vacuous) media coverage. And partly because it was run by a private (not NHS) provider.

What was exposed at Winterbourne View was barbaric. The publication of the Mazars review in December 2015 flagged up so, so much worse. The systematic ignoring (or worse) of the preventable deaths of learning disabled people by an NHS trust. Less than 1% of unexpected deaths were investigated.

Less than 1% of unexpected deaths were investigated…

The response of Mencap to the Mazars publication?  Puffery about Mencap greatness. Shockingly and deeply inappropriate.

*Mencap’s repeated and self serving focus on ‘Winterbourne View’ further demonstrates the gap between Mencap and the people/families they claim to be the voice of. Learning Disability England is being launched on June 14. Reclaiming ‘voices’. Thank fuck.