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Call for action on care home abuse
Another care home scandal like Winterbourne View could happen again unless the Government takes action, campaigners have warned.
Charities called for the closure of large institutions caring for people with mental disabilities as a serious case review is to be published into the abuse of vulnerable patients at the private hospital in Hambrook, south Gloucestershire.
Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation warned that moving people hundreds of miles away from their families risked another care home scandal.
The two charities said a report they had compiled, Out of Sight, detailed a series of serious cases of abuse and neglect of people with a learning disability in institutional care.
They said they had received 260 reports from families concerning abuse and neglect in institutional care since the BBC Panorama programme uncovering the Winterbourne View scandal aired in June last year.
The joint report details a number of serious incidences reported by families, including physical assault, sexual abuse and the overuse of restraint. It also explores the plight of families trying to have their loved ones moved closer to home.
The report called on the Government to close all large assessment and treatment centres and ensure that smaller units are integrated with local services. It also said that local services should be developed in order that no vulnerable person is sent far away from home.
Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring added: "We fear that unless the Government commits to a strong action plan to close large institutions and develop appropriate local services for people with a learning disability, there is a very real risk that another Winterbourne View will come to light."
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We are clear that wherever possible people should be supported to live in their own homes within their local community. In a small number of cases people might need access to good-quality assessment and treatment services which might include some short periods of in-patient care. However this is not a substitute for high-quality care within the community. It is vital all services are commissioned properly, reviewed regularly and not used as a long-term solution."
She described the abuse at Winterbourne View as "appalling" and added: "The inhumanity and suffering inflicted on such vulnerable people is unforgivable. We have already set out a range of national actions which will mean that people have access to high-quality care. These actions will make sure those who provide care, commission care and care staff know exactly what part they must play and what standards are expected of them."