Review of learning disability services

Published: 14 May 2012 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

Read the results of our review of learning disability services which looked at 150 NHS, private care and social care services.

About the inspections

Download the inspection reports

Download all the reports published from this review in full and easy to read versions.

This review focused on services that provide care for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours.

Our inspectors carried out 150 unannounced inspections that looked at two national standards. These standards related to:

  • care and welfare.
  • safeguarding (protecting people’s health and wellbeing, and enabling them to live free from harm).

The inspections took place at 71 NHS Trusts, 47 private services and 32 care homes.

Our inspectors were supported by 51 professional advisors and 53 Experts by experience (people who receive care or carers).

Our findings

Five of the 150 inspections were pilots and were not included in the overall analysis. Therefore, of 145 inspections:

  • 35 met both standards.
  • 41 met both standards with minor concerns.
  • 69 failed to meet one or both standards.

Many failings are a direct result of care that is not centred on the individual or tailored to their needs.

Our findings show that some assessment and treatment services are admitting people for long spells of time, and discharge arrangements are taking too long to arrange. Commissioners now need to review the care plans for people receiving this type of care so that people can move on to community-based services.

  • Almost 50 per cent of hospitals and care homes that were inspected did not meet national standards.
  • Staff needed to be given appropriate training in restraint techniques.
  • Safeguarding concerns were identified in 27 care services.

Follow up inspections

Our inspectors have returned to 34 services where we found most serious concerns. These services have provided us with action plans on how they will meet national standards.

We have also followed up on all 27 concerns relating to people’s safety and have confirmed that these services have contacted their safeguarding team in their local authority.