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Mencap reveals rise in people locked away in ‘modern day asylums’

Edel Harris Mencap cropped

An increasing number of people with a learning disability and/or autism are being locked away in modern day asylums, Mencap has revealed.

The charity urged the government “not to use coronavirus crisis as an excuse to let this domestic human rights scandal continue.”

Mencap said at least 2,060 people with a learning disability and/or autism were locked away in inpatient units, up from 2,025 last month, warning they were at an even greater risk of coronavirus.

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A further 200 children with a learning disability and/or autism were being held in inpatient units, up from 190 last month, the charity revealed.

Delayed discharges have continued with at least 120 people still stuck in hospital when they were ready for discharge in May 2020, the charity noted, with the average total length of stay in inpatient units at 5.7 years.

The charity said that more than 3,000 instances of restrictive interventions recorded in one month, 570 of which were against children, were likely to be “just the tip of the iceberg”.

Edel Harris, Chief Executive of Mencap, (pictured) said: “We have long been warning that lockdown must not mean more people being locked up. Yet today’s figures show an increasing number of people with a learning disability and/or autism locked away in these modern-day asylums, where they are at risk of abuse and neglect. With family contact cut and CQC inspections reduced during lockdown, many families are rightly terrified about what might be happening to their loved ones behind closed doors.

“People with a learning disability and/or autism have a right to live in homes not hospitals. The government must not use the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to let this domestic human rights scandal continue. Now more than ever, we need a robust cross-government strategy and investment in a reformed social care system to stop inappropriate admissions in the first place and get people out of inpatient units and back into the community.”

Tags : learning disabilitiesMencap
Lee Peart

The author Lee Peart

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