A learning disability quality code launched this week is designed to help good learning disability providers get better and stop commissioners from choosing poor provision.
I have spent the best part of a year working on a code for providers of learning disability services to sign up to as part of the government’s programme to transform support in the wake of Winterbourne View. The Driving Up Quality Code, which is formally launched by care minister Norman Lamb on Wednesday, commits providers to addressing fundamental cultural issues in their organisations and being honest and transparent about how well they are supporting people.
What has been unique about this piece of work is how it has brought together provider organisations from all different sectors – housing, support, residential care and health – to take some responsibility for the very real problems of quality and culture that we have in this sector. If I’m honest, I don’t think that a code is going to make a big difference in those organisations that are really poor. If they still are functioning despite being regulated by the Care Quality Commission and monitored by commissioners in a time of heightened awareness of poor quality care, there are much greater problems than a code can sort out.
What I think the Driving Up Quality Code can do is help fundamentally good organisations to get better and start to address some of the problems that stop them from supporting people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour well. And with good local services in place, we won’t need to send so many people away to assessment and treatment units.
Can providers start to see beyond opening a building and filling it? Can they work with people and families to find out what they want and build it around what works for them? Of course they can, but this requires providers to think beyond the typical service mindset. It also requires commissioners to stop the practice of placing people in ‘beds’ in healthcare services simply because there is nothing available locally. They need to invest in good local provision- simple really you’d think.
What I have learned in the last year is about the innovative organisations that are providing great services to people who challenge. There are several of them that are cutting edge and there are many of them that are good and striving to get better. None of these services costs any more than the specialist healthcare or assessment and treatment units and many cost a lot less, with better results.
Source: Community Care
9th September 2013