CAMPAIGN FOR THE COMPLETION OF HOSPITAL RESETTLEMENT
IN WALES FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
The Campaign for the completion of Hospital
Resettlement in Wales for people with learning disabilities seeks
to end the longest hospital waiting list of all. The principles
underlying the campaign are the familiar, but often ignored, principles
of the All Wales Mental Handicap Strategy:
a right to an ordinary pattern of
life in the community;
a right to be treated as an individual;
a right to additional help and support
in developing their maximum potential.
Long term incarceration in hospital through
lack of community alternatives strikes at the heart of these principles.
This is not an issue of policy or economics, but one of human
rights. David's story, as told by his mother, is typical.
"My son David has been a resident of Hensol
hospital since he was 16 years old in 1980. He has had a good
relationship with the staff over the years and around February
1996 David was told `that he would be out in the community in
12 months from April'. Then last year he was told that he would
be out in March 1999 and it doesn't look like he will be out then.
He is looking forward to coming out and they say they would look
for areas near to me making it easier for the family to visit
him. He keeps asking every time I see him `When am I getting out?'
and it is making him distressed because we can't give him a definite
date. I would like to see him out in the community because he
has great plans."
Currently there are 450 people left in the three
large long stay hospitals in WalesLlanfrechfa Grange, Hensol
and Bryn y Neuadd. There are no clear and agreed plans for resettlement
for these people.
1983The All Wales Mental Handicap Strategy
1989The term "comprehensive resettlement"
first used by the Welsh Office meaning that all hospital residents
were to be resettled back to community settings.
1991Welsh Office Circular envisaged that
support and accommodation would largely be provided in ordinary
flats and houses, in local communities and that individuals would
normally not share with more than three or four people.
1993Llwyn View, Broughton and Coed Du
hospitals close showing that it can be done.
1994Welsh Office Circular made the objective
of full resettlement explicit and made Health Authorities and
Local Authorities make firm plans to:
resettle the residents of long stay
mental handicap hospitals into more homely settings in the community;
relocate other care and support services
into community based settings . . . thus allowing the closure
resettlement to be complete by 1
April 1999 and all remaining hospitals to close over the next
but then . . .
1994Welsh Office conclude that resettlement
should concentrate on Ely with resources being made available
for resettlement from other hospitals at some time in the future.
1998Welsh Office make funding available
for 10 individuals. Consideration of remaining resettlement is
deferred until after the start of the Welsh Assemblyafter
1 April 1999.
Resettlement is complex. It takes at least two
years in most instances from plans being agreed to people moving.
The size and scope of the task cannot be underestimated.
The stress of waiting is very real for all 450
people involvedand for their families and carers.
Resettlement will cost more money than is currently
being spent on these 450 people in some instances considerably
more if it is to be done properly. But resettlement is not about
saving moneyit is about ending poor care to the must vulnerable
citizens in our society.
Unless we resettle people, transfer resources
and close the hospitals there is a real danger that they will
begin to fill up again with our children and young adults. Future
generations should have local not institutional services.
It will not be possible to gain the commitment
of local authorities unless some protection is made by the Welsh
Office for resettlement funding.
More people have died waiting for their move
in the remaining three hospitals in Wales than have been resettled.
Some have also been transferred from one institutional setting
Anyone can live in the community regardless
of their additional health and social needs. Ninety-five per cent
of people with learning disabilities in Wales already do so.
People in hospital are "socially excluded"
in a way that nobody else is in Wales.
AIMS . . .
completing the resettlement of all
people in long stay mental handicap hospitals by the end of the
first term of the Welsh Assembly;
ensuring that sufficient funding
is available to meet both the one off and recurrent cost of resettlement
within this time frame;
ensuring that the ringfencing of
funding remains in place for all resettlement monies;
ensuring the appropriate co-ordination
of individual planning takes place between the Welsh Office, Hospitals
and Local Authorities;
ensuring that all the hospitals close
completely and do not reconstitute themselves as "continuing
ensuring that no-one is placed in
inappropriate alternative institutional settings;
ensuring that each person and their
family and advocates are fully involved and informed;
ensuring that creative and individualised
means are used to meet people's needs in the community.