Waste of lives, waste of money - where's the plan?

Beckii shares her brother Elliot’s story - Homes Not Hospitals

People with a learning disability and autistic people have the same human rights as anyone else - and like anyone else, they should be able to live a fulfilling life in the community.

Instead, many are being locked up in mental health hospitals where they don’t need to be and this must change.

The government has agreed this is wrong and must be addressed but has failed to meet the promises it made to people with a learning disability, autistic people, and their families – promises it has been making for more than 10 years.

The latest promise? To have freed - by March 2024 - 50% of the total number of people with a learning disability and autistic people who are detained in mental health hospitals, where they can be held for years on end and are at increased risk of abuse and neglect. 

The reality? The number of people detained has only dropped by 30%, leaving hundreds of traumatised disabled people locked away, people who should be free and living in the community near their families.

The government must say what they will do after March 2024 to free people and end this human rights scandal once and for all.

People with lived experience, Mencap, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, BASW England, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), VoiceAbility, Association for Real Change, Rightful Lives, Autism Alliance, Learning Disability England, National Autistic Society and many other campaigners are calling on government ministers to stop the waste of lives and waste of money spent on institutionalising people with a learning disability and autistic people in mental health hospitals.

We call for an updated and strengthened action plan and new commitments to go further than 50%, freeing more people and tackling the unacceptable lengths of stay in mental health hospitals and the worrying rise in the number of autistic people without a learning disability being admitted to mental health hospitals.

Government must make establishing the right community support and housing an urgent priority, to prevent admission and to enable people to be discharged successfully.

The waste of lives must end.