40 Transforming Care Partnerships are to be set up across England, to oversee the implementation of the recently published ‘Building the Right Support Plan’, part of the wider government Transforming Care Programme.
The plan was developed by NHS England, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. It seeks to transform community services for those suffering from learning disabilities and/or autism, who are too often, and for too long, being treated in in-patient hospital settings.
In England, around 24,000 people who have a learning disability and/or autism are classed as being at risk of hospital admission and three quarters of those admitted stay in in-patient facilities for more than a year.
Under the plan sufferers will be supported to lead more independent lives, with new high quality community services reducing the need for in-patient care. The plan predicts a reduction in inpatient beds of between 30 and 50 per cent. Improving the quality of life for thousands of patients and freeing up hundreds of millions of pounds for investment in community-based support.
Transforming Care Partnerships will have until April 2016 to produce local action plans, and are expected to oversee a smooth transition to new service arrangements within 3 years. £15m will be made available for capital expenditure over this period, with £30m available on a match-funding basis for local commissioners to ‘double-run’ services.
Bed closures will be staggered, only taking place when suitable alternatives are available. Providers such as hospital trusts will be supported by NHS England and others to adapt to the new model, shifting their own services to the community where possible.
“Society has failed this group of people for decades. Now is the time to put things right, and with this far-reaching plan I am confident that we can finally make quick, significant and lasting improvements to their lives.”
Budgets will be shared between and a set of national guidelines will be published, setting out the support service users and their families can expect, assisting commissioning bodies in planning appropriate services for their area.