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11 November 2019

Making a difference to end inappropriate hospital placements

Holly Dagnall explains how NCHA is supporting vulnerable people in its community.

“In October 2019, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its annual State of Care report, with one of its findings being that too many people with a learning disability or autism or severe and enduring mental ill health are in hospital because of a lack of local, intensive community services.

“Anyone who’s seen the related news stories or panorama programmes will already be aware that nationally people with a learning disability or autism are being failed; often left for long periods of time in poor quality independent hospitals, isolated from friends and family. This also is the case for people suffering from severe or enduring mental ill health.

As the CQC argue, better systems of care are needed for people who are, or are at risk of, being hospitalised and placed in overly restrictive environments. And there are alternatives.

“At NCHA we’ve been specialising in supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and enduring mental ill health for over 20 years. During this time, we’ve worked with our local social care commissioners and the NHS to develop specialist housing with intensive support to enable people in long stay hospital care to move on, to live independently. We currently have a specialist care home that supports up to six people and five supported living services for 40 individuals.

“A new service is due to open in early 2020, Saxon Court in Northampton. This service will provide accommodation and support for 14 people with complex learning disabilities, autistic spectrum condition and associated mental health conditions.

We use Positive Behavioural Support to enhance the quality of life experienced by the people we support and personalised support plans to help people to find activities they enjoy.

“We work tirelessly with commissioners, landlords and local people to set up services which have the best possible chance of success and the results speak for themselves. Our service in Northampton is rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC. The report stated: “The quality of care which our inspectors found here was exceptional.”

“All this goes to show that it can be done. There is no medical or ethical reason why people should be deprived of their liberty and separated from the people they love because they have a learning disability, autism or poor mental health.

“I am proud to say that NCHA makes a difference.”