July 28, 2019, Express: Figures uncover scandal: Almost 100 people locked up and drugged for learning disability https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1158775/learning-disability-people-locked-up-new-figures ALMOST 100 people currently locked up with severe learning disabilities are being secluded, chemically sedated or physically restrained every day, shocking figures reveal.
Restraint includes the use of straps, belts and harnesses, heavily sedating anti-psychotic drugs as well as forced seclusion, which can continue for days or weeks. MPs and charities have called for action, saying that using these methods on vulnerable children and adults is "putting lives at risk" and is a "fundamental abuse of human rights". The numbers of recorded restraints from October 2018 to April 2019 rose from 2,700 to 3,075, including 770 children. This is the equivalent of 10 more cases a day and is the highest recorded figure. The data was drawn from a new NHS Digital database which examined reported restraint incidents in controversial private and NHS assessment units (ATUs) where more than 2,000 children and adults with autism and learning disabilities are locked away for challenging behaviour. Most are sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The Department of Health defines physical restraint as any direct physical contact in which the "interveners intention is to prevent, restrict or subdue movement of the body or part of the body". This includes "prone restraint", when a person is held face down on the floor, and "mechanical restraint" which involves devices such as a harness or belt. Chemical restraint is the use of medication with "the purpose of controlling or subduing". Other data also reveals the Government has failed to meet its pledge of March 2015 to halve the number of children and adults held in the 100 prison-style ATUs in England. The numbers have only fallen by 21 percent - from 2,890 (including 110 children), in March 2015 to 2,270 (including 245 children) in May this year. Dan Scorer, head of policy and public affairs at Mencap, said: "Shocking human rights abuses are happening daily. … "These modern-day asylums are inappropriate environments for people with learning disabilities and autism. "Personalised support in the community, with properly trained staff, would put a stop to this scandal." It is not mandatory for private providers - some of which charge the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds a year per patient - to release data on use of restraint so some experts believe the figures are likely to be far higher. Last year this paper, along with former health minister Norman Lamb highlighted the scandal in which children and adults are locked up in ATUs. The Liberal Democrat MP said: "It is an intolerable, fundamental breach of human rights. The fact so many are restrained is a scandal and must end."… A BBC documentary in 2011 showed people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour being repeatedly assaulted.