In October 2015 the Transforming Care programme published a national plan for services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism – Building the Right Support. This review welcomes the plan, and its commitment to reducing the number of inpatient beds by increasing the availability of community-based support. But such a step change will be challenging across the country, and particularly in those regions where reliance on hospital beds is high.
While it is right that a national plan for closures should be measured by the number of beds that are decommissioned, Transforming Care’s remit goes much beyond this. A robust system of measures needs to be established with strategic direction from the national programme to avoid ‘institutional’ cultures from emerging in the community – we need to know that services are ensuring individuals have a choice over the support they receive, independence, and that it is delivered in a way that puts their interests front and centre.