Our Letter to Simon Stevens

Link to PDF version

Simon Stevens CEO NHS England Skipton House 80 London Rd, London SE1 6LH

12th November 2018

Dear Mr Stevens,

Re. Mail on Sunday Investigation

We are a group of individuals who have experienced the mental health system, families and supporters who are involved in the Rightful Lives campaign. The campaign is a response to the many people who have experienced poor care or who have been wrongly detained in psychiatric institutions. The campaign takes the form of an exhibition that explores these issues within the context of the Human Rights Act- we urge you to visit the site and look at the many powerful exhibits http://rightfullives.net/.

We are writing to bring your attention to the numerous cases of segregation, abuse and wrongful detention in Assessment and Treatment Units commissioned by NHS England and in particular, an investigation carried out by the Mail on Sunday which details the extraordinary profit that is being made from our loved ones https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6375895/Parents-slam-healthfat-cats-getting-730-000-annually-autistic-child-lock-up.html and this report from Rightful lives that analyses how money is spent on Assessment and Treatment Units http://rightfullives.azurewebsites.net/Stories/The-Factory.html. When you gave evidence to the Public Accounts Committee in February 2015 and stated that you would close both NHS and independent sector hospitals we were encouraged that our loved ones would finally get the services they need in their communities. Since then the numbers of people in these types of services has only reduced marginally overall and more young people are entering these services. The most recent figures on the demographics of people with learning disabilities and autism in hospital indicate that:

- 2,315 people were in inpatient settings
- 1,375 (59%) had been in hospital for over 2 years.

We are aware of examples of good work that NHSE is doing under the Transforming Care programme and some people are moving out of ATUs and getting the support they need to live in communities. We are also aware of too many areas where not enough is happening, people are remaining in ATUs for too long because of poor commissioning, wrangles with who pays and inflexibilities in the grant programme for housing. This has resulted in too many of the stories we have seen recently in the media.

The sums made by individuals and companies that have been uncovered in the aforementioned press coverage and report are scandalous. Our loved ones are not getting the services they need and money is being made on their misery. This is money from our NHS. We are constantly told that how money allocated to the care of our loved ones is complicated and we understand this, however it can’t be right that they are suffering because of this complexity. As families and supporters we are offering solutions that usually cost much less than the ATUs and still it takes much too long to move people out of them. We would like to know what you are going to do about this?

Yours sincerely,

Julie Newcombe

On behalf of Rightful Lives

julienewcombe@rightfullives.net