Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
Children with learning disabilities and/or autism in Wales who require in-patient care for mental health needs are placed in appropriate units in England. These units are subject to the Framework for Secure and Out of Area Inpatient Children and Adolescent Mental Health services which specifically monitors use of restraint and other restrictive practices and is reinforced by regular audits.
In light of the findings in the Children’s Commissioner for England’s report, I am instructing the National Collaborative Commissioning Unit (NCCU), which has responsibility for the quality assurance of National Framework providers, to urgently review with the responsible Local Health Board the appropriateness of any placements of children with autism or learning disabilities that are placed in hospitals in England.
The Welsh Government has established a cross-government and multi-agency Task and Finish group to develop national guidance ‘Reducing Restrictive Practices Framework’. The framework is intended to promote the reduction of restrictive practices in health, social care and education settings for children and adults. The multiple forms of restrictive practices are named and recognised in the framework, including physical restraint, seclusion and sedation. The framework is being developed in line with the Equality and Human Rights Commission Framework for Restraint (March 2019). Draft guidance will be issued for formal consultation in summer 2019.
The Welsh Government’s Learning Disability Improving Lives programme contains a number of priority actions to strengthen the services available for children and young people with learning disabilities and their families. This includes the development of early intervention services, increasing the use of evidence based behavioural support and a full review of all learning disability services in Wales for children and young people.
I will provide an update once the NCCU has completed its review.