Disclosure: More than 99.99% of people with learning difficulties or autism NOT stuck in hospitals

BBC Scotland, advertising their timid wee pals at Disclosure, tell us:

Scots with learning disabilities and autism have been locked in secure hospitals and psychiatric wards for decades, a BBC investigation has found. They remain unable to get out despite [Labour] Scottish ministers saying 22 years ago that they should be living independently in the community.


They find 40, interview 4, 0.0026% of the estimated 150 000 living in Scotland with learning difficulties or autism

I know, 99.9% isn’t 100% and I recognise that even one wrongly kept in those conditions is a personal tragedy but, in a system of such size, can a less than 0.1% failure rate really be national news?


15 thoughts on “Disclosure: More than 99.99% of people with learning difficulties or autism NOT stuck in hospitals

  1. For context Disclosure should compare and contrast Scotland’s figures with the comparable figures from England . Wales and N.Ireland .
    I have every confidence in BBC Disclosure’s editorial staff that this will NOT be done !

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Given the revelations Therese Coffey has blocked publication of 5 reports on DWS you can absolutely bet on it….
          HMS James Cook would not have been given the green light otherwise..

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Bob do you mean DWP? Any links?
            T. Coffey is a horrible person. She is planning to remove thousands of peoples’ ‘benefits’ and force them into ‘work’, many will be suffering from mental health issues and/or learning disability.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I posted the archive of the BBC/Scotland article on your earlier piece on this subject, interesting read if only to observe the framing…

    It’s quite sad really, the subject undoubtedly merits exposure and discussion over where “the system got it wrong” but with HMS James Cook’s reputation now well beyond the U-Bend it will be widely disregarded as yet more propaganda.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have sooo much to say but I’ll try to keep it short. Again the problem is a LEGACY of the LABOUR cabal when they were at the helm at Holyrood and obviously before that as well. Facilities to house severe cases of learning disability and severe autism were just never made available.

    When I volunteered as a carers advocate a few years ago, (actually Labour were only just booted out back then) we had to support families whose adult children with severe learning disabilities/autism just could not be managed at home, especially if in a single parent family, utterly tragic for all. The only facility to keep the person (and others) safe was sadly the secure unit of the mental health hospital, which of course really made the situation worse for the adult with severe autism, it was very distressing for them. Dreadful, and heartbreaking.

    Learning disability is a bit different and in a different category/level of needs to learning disabled, but it is a spectrum. The type of care and facilities required for those who cannot be managed in the community or at home, is just not available and Labour neglected to cater for that of course. It’s only in rare cases where people with severe autism and learning disability cannot be cared for at home, the stress on families is immense and to have to see their children in secure units is not helpful to say the least.

    I am sure the ScotGov will be doing what they can in this area of healthcare, but to build specific facilities would cost a fortune and no doubt due to mitigating so many of the English govs’ disgusting cuts ot the most vulnerable, funds must really be stretched.

    The BBC needs to ask Labour why they neglected to provide facilities to house severe cases of autism and LD. Not sure what they say in their SNP bad story, but I suspect they don’t point out that it’s only in rare and severe cases that a person needs to be housed in secure units.

    Generally those with autism and learning disability/difficulty, can be cared for at home or in the community and there is funding for that. What is not adequately available and again is another disastrous Labour party in Scotland (HQ’d in London) legacy, is enough supported accomodation for those who cannot manage day to day living without support, on a level suitable to their specific needs. One of my sons comes into that category.

    BBC are a disgrace for their twisting of facts and refusing to inform people that pretty much all
    problems in the care sector are due to long term neglect by those who were at the helm at Holyrood and in London and who cared not a jot about people and families requiring specialist support.

    I still wonder what Labour UK did with the ‘budget’ when at the helm at Holyrood for ten whole years because they sure as hell neglected to do anything useful or positive for the people of Scotland. Hell mend ’em.

    Sorry long comment.

    Ps, I am no expert on the care sector, this is just my opinion and account of minimum experience in this area of healthcare.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. People with autism and learning difficulties are given support. There are given benefits to help with difficulties. Some live in cared housing. There is not enough diversity in society or professional care. There are far more than 150,000 people. Many have not been diagnosed. Or respite care where needed.

    Half of people in prison are on the spectrum, have ADHD or learning difficulties. Not being diagnosed. Prison is too bright and noisy for people on the spectrum, without the proper support. More is being done to diagnose people as adults. Everyone is supposed to have the right to a diagnose to get the relevant help. Professionals are not given the necessary training.


  5. I had a look at the data for England which I found here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/learning-disability-services-statistics/at-june-2022-mhsds-april-2022-final

    It identifies 1,120 patients with learning disabilities in hospital in England, who have been in hospital more than 2 years.

    I used to work with people who have learning disabilities and was involved in the mid-80s moving young people from long stay learning disability hospitals (e.g. Lennox Castle) into small community homes (3 to 5 residents). As part of the move towards community care in the 80s/90s as far as I’m aware all the separate long stay learning disability hospitals in Scotland were closed down . Published data for Scotland shows around 150 care homes for people with learning disabilities (data.sssc.uk.com) and according to PHS fewer than 1,300 residents (8 to 9 residents on average).

    The cases the BBC refers to are certainly nowhere near the norm.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not sure why BBC Scotland felt the need to mount a ‘disclosure’ programme: are data not readily available from official public sources in Scotland? Anyone know? Relevant data are available in England – easily found using google!

    NHS England regularly publishes an extensive set of statistics on hospital inpatients admitted because of learning disabilities. It’s called: ‘Learning disability services monthly statistics from the Assuring Transformation (AT) dataset’.

    Source https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/learning-disability-services-statistics/at-june-2022-mhsds-april-2022-final/datasets—at

    As of June 2022, NHS England reports the following on total lengths of stay in hospital (based on date of the first admission to any hospital as part of a continuous period of inpatient care):

    All inpatients in scope: in hospital for 5 to 10 years = 335
    – numbers with Learning disability only = 150
    – with Autism only = 85
    – with Learning disability and autism = 100

    All inpatients in scope: in hospital for more than 10 years = 355
    – numbers with Learning disability only = 215
    – numbers with Autism only = 50
    – numbers with Learning disability and autism = 90

    The National Autistic Society (NAS) uses these data to monitor provision and inform its advocacy. On its website, it reported this on 17 February 2022:

    In total 2,030 autistic people and people with learning disabilities are in inpatient mental health hospitals in England – 1,185 (58%) of these people are autistic and around one in seven (165) of these are autistic people under 18

    The average length of stay is around five and a half years. – ‘And we continue to hear alarming cases of overmedication, seclusion and unnecessary restraint’. The overwhelming majority (90%) of autistic people who are detained in hospital are put there using the Mental Health Act 1983.

    The NAS notes: ‘In 2011 shocking abuse was uncovered at Winterbourne View Hospital, an inpatient unit for people with learning disabilities. This scandal led to the acknowledgement that there is a significant number of autistic people, those with a learning disability or both, stuck, inappropriately, in inpatient settings – largely because services to support them in the community simply do not exist.

    ‘The Government’s response came in the form of the Transforming care programme which aimed to close up to half of the inpatient mental health beds and move people back to their local communities by 1 June 2014. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN.’ (my emphasis)

    ‘In 2015, NHS England published a 3-year closure programme and national plan called Building the right support. This set out how the NHS and local authorities in England propose to improve the lives of autistic people, those with a learning disability, or both in inpatient settings.’

    The key promises they aimed to achieve by the end of May 2019 included: (i) Closing 35-50% of inpatient beds for autistic people with or without a learning disability. (ii) The right support would be developed in communities to support these people. Alongside this, NHS England published a ‘service model’ setting out all the local support that should be available in each area by March 2019.

    The NAS notes: ‘BUT THIS IS STILL NOT THE CASE. There is simply not enough of the right type of community services, which is a key reason why autistic people are still being admitted to inpatient care and why it’s often so hard for them to move back to the community.’

    This is an important, difficult and sensitive subject: all governments and health & social care providers should be supporting the vulnerable and those in need and at risk in the best way they can. This is one of those situations where even small numbers of exceptional cases should receive best attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thatcher – care in the community – prison

    Closed down all the community care. Sheltered care. People, with needs, ended up homeless on the streets.


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