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Winterbourne View dowries set to last a life time

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Individuals with severe learning disabilities who have been in long term hospital care are set to get “life-long” dowries from the NHS when they move into social care, the president of the Association of Directors of Adults’ Social Services has revealed.

Speaking to the National Children’s and Adults Services Conference in Bournemouth last week, Ray James said the government was likely to announce details of the next stage of the post Winterbourne View transforming care programme in a few weeks’ time.

LGC reported in May that some of NHS England’s £200m transformation fund would be used to fund dowries to move people with learning disabilities from hospitals into community-based care. However, there have been no further details until now.

The transforming care programme was introduced following the Winterbourne View scandal when the BBC’s Panorama exposed the appalling abuse of people with learning disabilities living in a specialist hospital.

Mr James stressed the agreement was not finalised yet “in terms of what the money will look like” but said a deal was close to being resolved.

Mr James said: “If people have been in long stay hospital for a given period of time [they] are likely to have a dowry for rest of their life… For the rest of the spend, the intention is to try to protect, pool and align all of the existing spend in a locality, including the specialised commissioning spend.”

He told delegates “very clever people at NHS England” were now “confident” they had worked out how the specialised commissioning funding could be included in these arrangements without contravening the Health and Social Care Act.

Mr James, who is also director of health, housing and adult social care at Enfield LBC, said community specialist teams to support to people once they moved into the community were essential, particularly for crisis response and averting hospital admissions.

He added: “If you have not got it already the learning is it is absolutely central to making this work so you need to create the funding for that to be able to happen.”

He said Adass had supported a bid to the spending review for additional funding for the transition.

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