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140 disabled people ‘incarcerated’ in hospitals due to lack of accessible housing

11 March 2020

Leading learning disability charity Mencap has uncovered data revealing that 140 people with a learning disability or autism, who are capable of independent living, are being forced to stay in hospital due to a lack of appropriate accommodation.

The figures were compiled using data from NHS Digital.

One ten year-old boy, Ahmed, has been in hospital for eleven months due to his local council’s failure to find suitable accommodation for his family which facilitates his needs.

MP for Manchester Central, Lucy Powell, said that the council had a “moral and financial” duty to house him, following a Guardian story on his plight:  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/09/severely-disabled-boy-stuck-in-acute-nhs-bed-for-nearly-a-year

Ahmed has multiple disabilities, is registered blind and uses a wheelchair but has been well enough to leave an acute ward at the hospital since the middle of April last year.

Powell said: “I’m looking into this case as a matter of urgency. While suitable, adapted housing is an ever more difficult challenge to find, it surely makes moral as well as financial sense to do whatever it takes to move this family from occupying an acute hospital bed into accommodation. I’ve already raised this with executive members on the council, who I know are now prioritising the case.”

Every ‘excess bed’ day a disabled person unnecessarily spends in hospital costs the NHS £346 – a total of £115,000 of taxpayers’ funds since April in Ahmed’s case alone.

Kamran Mallick, DR UK CEO said: “It’s simply not right that fit and well disabled people are being effectively incarcerated in institutions.

“The EHRC very recently sent a letter to the Secretary of State requiring that action be taken in relation to 2,000 people with learning disabilities and autism in residential institutions who should be moved back into the community.

“Councils need to prioritise adaptations in existing housing stock and social care provision, as well as prioritising accessibility in new builds.

“It is completely unreasonable to see a child, or indeed any person, unnecessarily stuck in hospital for an entire year to no good end. We back Mencap’s calls for a cross-government strategy to ensure that health, social care, education and housing work together to end this dire situation once and for all.”