People with learning difficulties treated miles from home

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People with severe learning disabilities from Wakefield are receiving  specialist treatment miles away from the city and their families.

An interim report has revealed that at the start of the year, seven males and two females with complex needs from the district were living in units elsewhere in the UK because of a lack of local facilities.

However, plans are in place to return four of the patients, who are living with either autism, learning difficulties or both, to Wakefield.

Teenagers are among those being cared for away from the district, with the eldest patient in their early forties.

At a health scrutiny meeting on Thursday, Councillor Betty Rhodes welcomed the announcement that some would be returning home.

She said: “It’s certainly a problem nationally as well.

“It’s important that children are looked after nearer to home where their families can actually visit them.

“Having to send children far away from home and friends when they need help can’t be beneficial.

“To be able to give them support closer to home is a vital part of the healing process as well.”

The patients are being treated under an NHS programme which specifically caters for those with conditions like autism.

The report does not specify where the patients are located, but said that some of them had been in prison before they were taken elsewhere for treatment.

On the process of moving four of the patients back to Wakefield, it said: “Plans are underway with a local specialist provider to enable them to return to the Wakefield District with an appropriate, substantial, packages of support by April 2018.

“Further information is still being obtained on the additional five individuals in order to better understand their needs and what is required to support discharge, as they were not previously known to the CCG (Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group) or Social Services.

“Three of these individuals have transferred to secure hospital from prison, with the other two being admitted as a result of a hospital order from court.”