What we do - Have your say! - Winterbourne View – 10 Years On (

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Section: What we do

Subsection: What we do - Have your say!

Winterbourne View – 10 Years On (#Winterbourne10YearsOn)

The 10 year anniversary of the BBC Panorama programme that exposed abuse at Winterbourne View is coming up at the end of May. This is an opportunity to remember what happened, to reflect on the last 10 years, and to call on Government to deliver the change that was promised.


On 31st May 2011, undercover filming by BBC Panorama exposed horrific abuse at Winterbourne View hospital, an ‘Assessment and Treatment Unit’, near Bristol. In the immediate aftermath of the Panorama programme, four people were arrested and a further 13 employees were suspended. The physical, emotional, and mental abuse of people in a vulnerable position shocked the nation. Promises were made at the highest level to ensure this could never happen again. The Government was clear that hospitals are not homes and promised to ‘transform care’ for people with a learning disability. They said people placed inappropriately in inpatient units should move out of these settings and get the right support in the community.

At present, there are over 2000 people with a learning disability and/or autism in inpatient units many miles from their families.

To mark the anniversary of the Winterbourne View scandal and delays in the Government delivering on their commitments, some families whose relatives were at Winterbourne View have come together to share their experiences in “Tea, smiles, and empty promises”, which will be available to download from [Mencap] and [The Challenging Behaviour Foundation] from the 27th May 2021. Their stories show the devastating impact that inpatient units can have on individuals placed there, and the ongoing trauma people can experience both during and after their detention. It focuses on the need for people to get the right support in the community and avoid going into inpatient units in the first place. We know that the issues in this report will be difficult for many people to read, and may raise concerns about their own situations; please see the signposting at the end of this article for where people can go for information and support.

As many people, groups, and organisations as possible are being asked to: -

• Mark the 10th anniversary of the Winterbourne View scandal
• Raise awareness of the slow progress of the Government’s Transforming Care programme as well as the need for the urgent publication of the long-overdue cross-government strategy to deliver the change promised.

You can find out more about Transforming Care at [Mencap] and [The Challenging Behaviour Foundation]

You can: -
• Share the family stories and calls to action in [“Tea, smiles, and empty promises”]
• Write to your MP using our template to demand change for people with a learning disability and/or autism, your support will be massively appreciated. You can use the e-action at: [Transforming Care For People With A Learning Disability | Mencap] to quickly and directly contact your local MP and call for change.

Signposting for people and families affected
If you are worried that someone you know with a learning disability and/or autism is at risk of admission to an inpatient unit, or is currently in an inpatient unit and you are concerned about their care, please see the following for further information and where to go for support:

• If your relative has a severe learning disability, you can contact the Challenging Behaviour Foundation Family Support Service - 0300 6660126 or email support@thecbf.org.uk
• Mencap Helpline: 0808 8081111 or email helpline@mencap.org.uk