VODG statement on Care Quality Commission’s concerns about Cygnet Health Care

Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said:

“We need to see an end to the reliance on long-stay inpatient units for people with a learning disability, autism or mental ill health needs. As the latest expose demonstrates, serious concerns continue to be raised about care quality, leadership and governance of these units.

“Many are run by large corporations based in the United States where there is absolutely no incentive for them to engage in re-provision efforts that would see people being better supported in their local communities.

“NHS England and NHS Improvement are far from reducing the numbers of people currently detained in these units, with the number of people under the age of 18 rising and the fact that women are far less likely to be discharged from long-stay units than men.

“VODG welcomes CQC’s focus on Cygnet (a company that is owned by Universal Health Care in the United States) and is calling on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to direct CQC to rate all such units as ‘requiring improvement’ if any person has been living there for more than 12 months. The rating should be downgraded to ‘inadequate’ if anyone has been living there for more than 24 months and for all new admissions to be halted.”