Report into children with SEND being 'stuck' in mental health hospitals

News - 21 May 2019

Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, has published a hard-hitting report entitled 'Far less than they deserve: Children with learning disabilities or autism living in mental health hospitals' which shows how many children are being admitted to secure hospitals unnecessarily.

In February 2019, there were 250 chidlren with learning disabilities and/or autism in mental health hospitals - this is a rise from 110 in 2015. These childern are also being detained in hospital for too long - an average of 6 months in their current hospital and 8 months in inpatient care in total. Many of these placements are far from home, with 95 children placed more than 50km from home.

The report illustrates the variable quality of care in hospitals, with some receiving excellent support but others with 'shocking stories' to tell. There is evidence of poor and restrictive practices and sedation, leaving some children traumatised. Data indicates that for the 75 children recorded as having been restrained in one month (December 2018), the average was 11 incidents of restraint per child.

These issues are compounded by the fact that children's care is not regularly reviewed, with 1 in 7 children not having had a review recorded in the last year. Parents feel disempowered, and are not always informed about incidents involving their children .

Read more detail from the office of the Children's Commissioner here and the full report here:  

Far less than they deserve: Children with learning disabilities or autism living in mental health hospitals

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