Winterbourne families call for care closures

By Laura Sharman | 31 May 2016

The families of victims abused at Winterbourne View hospital have called on the prime minister to close ‘outdated’ care facilities.

They have written an open letter to David Cameron to express their anger at the ‘lack of change’ five years after the BBC’s Panorama programme exposed vulnerable adults being abused at the hospital.

A report recently revealed that 3,500 people with learning difficulties were still at inpatient units, despite the Government pledging to close such units in the wake of the scandal.

The letter read: ‘Despite clear commitments and plans from government and the NHS, today, around 3,500 people, including more than 160 children, are still stuck in places like Winterbourne View, often hundreds of miles from home and at risk of abuse. 

‘Lives have even been lost.

‘The rate of change has been painfully slow, and people with a learning disability and their families continue to suffer as a result. 

‘Government and the NHS must end this outdated model of hospital care and tackle the inappropriate use of restraint, seclusion and anti-psychotic medication, which is devastating lives.’

The letter has been signed by Steve Sollars, Ann Earley, Wendy Fiander, and Claire and Emma Garrod, who all had family members at Winterbourne View. 

It has been backed by Dr Margaret Flynn, the author of the Winterbourne View serious case review, Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, chief executive of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation.

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Whitehall Chief executives NHS Third sector Winterbourne View