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Mr David Lidington - Foreign and Commonwealth Office

In his statement to the House on 19 October, (HC Deb, col 656) following the October European Council, the Prime Minister my right honourable Friend the Member for Witney (David Cameron) said that he would be writing to the President of the European Council to set out the changes the Government wished to see in reforming the UKs relationship with the European Union. A copy of that letter is attached to this statement.

Alistair Burt - Department of Health

The Government is today publishing its official response to the consultation paper No voice unheard, no right ignoreda consultation for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions.

No voice unheard, no right ignored was presented by the previous Government because not enough progress had been made to transform the care of people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems as promised in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal.

The consultation posed questions primarily related to:

  • assessment in mental health hospitals for people (all age) with learning disability or autism
  • adult care and support, primarily for those with learning disability but also for adults with autism (and the links to support for children and young people); and
  • all those to whom the Mental Health Act 1983 currently applies (including children and young people).

We have listened to the views expressed in response to the consultation, and agree there is a need for further action to realise the vision of everyone being treated with dignity and respect by health and care services, and enjoying the same rights as everyone else.

The response comprises a number of phases of activity, namely:

  • early actions that seek to sustain momentum generated, chiefly through the use of existing powers and building on work currently underway;
  • further changes, including proposed legislative changes that cannot be achieved via existing powers (these changes relate principally to the Mental Health Act 1983); and
  • a third phase, which explores more radical solutions to longer-term issues, together with ongoing monitoring and review, and a clear back-stop that the Government will intervene further via legislation if the improvements sought are not being realised in practice.

The proposals in this document go hand in hand with the substantial programmes of work being put in place under the Transforming Care Programme, including the recently announced Building the Right Support national transformation plan. This was published on 30th October by NHS England, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to reduce reliance on inpatient capacity and increase community-based provision. A national NHS England fund of 45 million will be available to Transforming Care Partnerships over the next three years to aid the transition, focussing on ensuring that the right support is available in local areas to enable the first discharges. Central to the progress set out by the plan over the next three years will be new, high-quality, community-based services. The plan predicts that, as these services are put in place, there will be a reduction of up to 50% in the number of inpatient beds, meaning that some units will close altogether.

The proposals for action are put forward in the context of, and subject to, the Governments comprehensive spending review. We will continue to engage with stakeholders and those with expertise by lived experience in a spirit of co-production as we take these proposals forward.

The consultation was undertaken by the Department of Health in England. However, as the Mental Health Act applies across England and Wales, it recognised that any changes to the law in Wales would have to be agreed by the National Assembly for Wales.

A copy of the Command Paper (number 9142) entitled Government response to No voice unheard, no right ignoreda consultation for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions is available to honourable Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office, online at: and is attached.


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