A Trade in People: The inpatient healthcare economy for people with learning disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder

In this report Mark Brown, Elaine James and Chris Hatton have gathered data from Freedom of Information requests and combined with other available data sources to analyse spending on hospital placements for people with learning disabilities and autism.  They explore the factors that influences people being kept in hospitals across the country.  They conclude that:

‘…data indicates that inpatient rates are being influenced by the decisions of healthcare entrepreneurs to locate in areas where house prices are lower and that once there, the length of their stay in hospital will be influenced by the care infrastructure that is in place. Namely the numbers of people who are inpatients, the number of CQC registered settings and the number of s117/CHC packages of care.

If considered in conjunction with the experiences of people with learning disabilities and their families and the content of a number of the Transforming Care Plans, it is clear to us that the way in which the healthcare economy has been encouraged to develop by recent governments turns people into commodities and liabilities. For local authorities and CCGs they are liabilities that they have often sought to export to other areas and for independent hospitals they are a commodity and source of millions of pounds of income and profit’.

You can access the report here:


The report was also summarised in a blog on day 2 of the current 7 days of Action Campaign, available here:


How unofficial social policy drives change- a blog

Blog from Steven Rose back in May for Learning Disability Today is well worth a read and reflection Steven asks where are we now?  in relation to social policy that relates to and influences the lives of people with learning disabilities.  He writes that:

‘With the exception of the failing Transforming Care programme there is very little active official social policy relating directly to people with learning disabilities. However, if you look at the unofficial reaction to the very circumstances that prompted the ill-starred Transforming Care programme, the Winterbourne scandal, then you see the seeds of change being sown. Once again it is the activists, the thinkers, the radicals – people prepared to question the status quo – showing a way forward’.



7 days of Action: A Trade in People- Days 1-4

The third 7 days of Action is about money, business and the inpatient healthcare economy. It’s about a kind of business that is becoming increasingly significant and increasingly powerful. It’s about a new kind of trade and new kind of commodity. We did think we’d start this week by looking at the work we’d done in analysing the finances of the inpatient healthcare economy and by giving you an overview of our report A Trade in People: the inpatient healthcare economy for people with learning disabilities and/or ASD. But the problem with starting a week about people with statistics and budgets, is that you forget about the person and their experiences. So we are going to start this week by asking you to stop and think for a moment. We are going to ask you to imagine what it must be like to be detained behind the closed doors of an Assessment and Treatment Unit.

You can catch up on the first 4 days here:


Should I stay or should I go?

This week saw the publication of a piece of research by Elaine James and the Adult PSW Network Co-Chairs Rob Mitchell and Mark Harvey. The research paper titled ‘An inquiry by Social Workers into evening routines in community living settings for adults with Learning Disabilities’ looks at the life when living your life in care settings. This researched involved the collective efforts of overs 70 social workers wanting to understand the reality of the of choice and real lives.

Paul Richards  ( @Heavy_Load ) of Stay up Late and Gig Buddies fame agreed to write a blog for APSW challenging some of the concepts that lead to such arrangements and suggesting what we need to do.

You can read the blog here:



8 June – don’t lose your right to vote!

The problem is that many people with learning disabilities are not registered to vote. They may get turned away from the polling station if they don’t register by Monday 22nd May.

Easy Read Online have produced a downloadable easy read guide to registering to vote – download it here: http://bit.ly/2oD9qBV

Mencap also have a lot of information about voting, and why it’s important for people with learning disabilities to register, get involved in the campaign and make their voice heard, here: http://bit.ly/2pcoBWt

United Response have created an Every Vote Counts website, which includes easy read information on elections, voting and much more: http://bit.ly/2q66rmC