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£62 million to help discharge people with learning disabilities or autism into the community

Thursday July 16th, 2020

People with learning disabilities or autism who could be better supported in their community will have their discharges from hospital accelerated.Funding

Funding will be given to local councils to accelerate discharge of patients with learning disabilities or autism (or both) from mental health hospitals into the community

The funding can be spent on costs associated with discharge, including establishing community teams, funding accommodation and staff training

A new independent oversight panel has been set up to improve care and support for inpatients with learning disabilities or autism

The Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has called for a renewed focus to ensure people with learning disabilities or autism are discharged promptly from hospital back into the community.

Additionally, last year the Health and Social Care Secretary asked Baroness Hollins to oversee the independent case reviews for people with a learning disability or autism who were identified as being in long-term segregation. The reviews have made recommendations in each case to support moving people to less restrictive settings as quickly as possible.

Baroness Hollins has now appointed an oversight panel, which will examine findings from these reviews and develop recommendations to the government.

Named the Community Discharge Fund, the funding will help to move people with learning disabilities and autistic people into more appropriate care: either into less restrictive settings or into the community, where appropriate.

The fund, split over 3 years, will give local authorities additional money to remove some of the obstacles to discharging inpatients. The new funding will help to cover ‘double-running’ costs such as establishing community teams, funding accommodation and staff training. Local authorities and Transforming Care Partnerships will be able to use the funding on the most appropriate measures for their area.

This funding is on top of a total of £3.7 billion given to councils to support their response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a significant package of support which responds to the range of pressures councils have told us they are facing.

The oversight panel will make recommendations to transform the care and treatment of people with a learning disability or autism and prevent unnecessary admissions and the use of restrictive practices in future.

The independent reviews have made recommendations to improve individual cases and outlined steps to move individuals to less restrictive settings and onto discharge, which will now be considered by the oversight panel.

The panel held its first meeting on 29 June and will continue to meet throughout the summer to develop its findings and recommendations. It is made up of clinical, psychological and commissioning experts as well as those with a lived experience, including family members and advocates.

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