A commissioner should be appointed to protect and promote the rights of people with learning disabilities in England, a report has said.

Sir Stephen Bubb, who has been reviewing the sector since the abuse scandal at Winterbourne View home, also said care homes “have to close”.

He said he had been shocked by stories of treatment of people with learning disabilities that was “intolerable”.

Health minister Alistair Burt said major improvements were under way.

In 2011, the BBC’s Panorama uncovered serious patient abuse and neglect at the Winterbourne View private hospital, near Bristol.

Sir Stephen – who is chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations – was then asked by NHS England to examine how to address “serious shortcomings” in the support for those with learning disabilities.

In November 2014, Sir Stephen published his report – Winterbourne View – Time for Change – that said many people were being kept in hospitals far from home for far too long.

He made 10 recommendations, including closing large “inappropriate in-patient facilities” in favour of care services for people in their own community and the introduction of a legal charter of rights for them and their families.

But he later reported an “absence of any tangible progress”.


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