NHS england
(Reuters)

A new report has claimed that the UK government is failing those with learning disabilities by keeping them for too long in hospitals which may be far away from their homes and leave them open to abuse.

The Winterbourne View - Time for Change independent report was commissioned after a 2011 investigation into widespread abuse at a Bristol care home. The report said 10 steps are needed to address NHS England's "serious shortcomings", when it comes to providing support for those with learning disabilities.

"People are still angry and frustrated that more people with learning disabilities are being placed in institutional care than moved into the community," said Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) and chairman of the independent group who compiled the report.

"We urge immediate action, to close all Winterbourne-style institutions and ramp up community provision.

"We need a new charter of rights to empower people with learning disabilities and their families, and give them the right to challenge the system. We need that system to have the courage to act on these recommendations, and not to promise another false dawn.

"The time for talk is over. It's time for people with learning disabilities or autism and their families to be put first."

The recommendations include improved training and education for NHS staff, as well as local government and service provider employees. The closure of "inappropriate" in-patient facilities was also recommended.

The report suggests introducing a charter of rights for people with learning disabilities and/or autism and their families.

"We asked Sir Stephen Bubb to tell us how the NHS can better plan and fund care, treatment and support for people with learning disabilities and autism. He's done that," said Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England.

"This report asks every part of the system to respond. We are committed to playing a full and active role in the implementation of the recommendations and call on others to do the same."