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NHS Campuses for People With Learning Disabilities

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Nhs People Learning Disabilities

In decades gone by, the Government provided for patients that required ongoing healthcare and treatment via long stay hospitals. Patients with severe or profound learning disabilities were among the many patients to reside in such institutions.

What Is An NHS Campus?

The difference between long-stay hospitals and ‘normal’ hospitals is the fact that the patients residing in long-stay hospitals do not have chronic health conditions, and are not currently undergoing treatment. However, long-stay hospitals have gradually been replaced by NHS Campuses – institutions owned and managed by the NHS. For this reason, patients staying in NHS Campuses do not have independent landlords, or housing rights.

Patients that stay in NHS Campuses are also not detained on a compulsory basis. People that reside in such campuses usually have been undergoing assessment and been in treatment services for one year. It is worth noting that people who live in settings registered under the CSCI are not accommodated in what is defined as an NHS campus.

It is thought that at the time that the Valuing People white paper was published, around 3,000 people were residing in NHS Campus accommodation, or institutions run by NHS staff. Technically and legally, the residents of NHS Campuses are NHS patients.

Problems With NHS Campuses

However, as part of the white paper Valuing People, the Government decided that the NHS Campuses were not conducive to encouraging independent living or social inclusion for people with learning disabilities. This is because they tend not to be particularly community-based institutions. It was felt that the daily routines associated with the running of larger institutions often mean that the needs of individuals aren’t met. People residing in NHS Campuses often don’t have suitable access to leisure activities.

Campus accommodation has also been found to lack adequate facilities and practices that cater for the health problems that are common in people with learning disabilities. In some cases, this has lead to financial, institutional and physical abuse, often as a result of poor and out-of-date management, work practices, record-keeping and planning. There has also been concern in relation to the fact that the NHS has been running unregistered care homes.

The conclusion is that a person-centred planning approach cannot be realised whilst people with learning disabilities continue to live within NHS campuses. This was a fundamental reasoning behind the goal to close all NHS Campuses by 2010, as outlined in another white paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say.

Reprovision Of NHS Campuses

Therefore, there have been moves to encourage person-centred approaches to long-term care for people with learning disabilities. The Government hopes to achieve this through the reprovision of NHS campuses to homes with greater access to community services, healthcare facilities and leisure activities. This in turn will greatly assist individuals once they leave NHS commissioned accommodation.

The hope is that individualised services will allow people with learning disabilities to have more control and say over what services they receive, and what happens to them. Person-centred approaches also allow patients to develop and maintain relationships with family and friends. It also encourages employment and educational opportunities, and is fundamental in supporting steps towards independent living and social inclusion for people with learning disabilities.

Local authorities, together with local PCTs, largely manage reprovision of NHS campuses, and are under guidelines to opt for person-centred approaches to developing new services to replace current NHS commissioned accommodation. It is thought that people with learning disabilities should have more choice about where they are accommodated, aside from congregate living, as this will increase the options available for independent support.

For a more detailed action plan on the reprovision of NHS campuses in your area, contact your Local Authority Social Services Department or Primary Care Trust (PCT).

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