A Sky News investigation into the treatment of people with learning disabilities and autism revealed that 40 patients died during a three-year period while admitted to hospital under an NHS program intended to protect them. Nine of the deceased were under 35 when they died.
Our investigation combined interviews with people with learning disabilities and autism and their families with new data to reveal multiple failures in Assessment and Treatment Units, and of the Transforming Care program, introduced in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal, to improve the care of some of the most vulnerable people in society.
The investigation also examined the widespread use of restraint in hospitals, and highlighted the fate of people effectively trapped in a care system inappropriate for their needs and often many miles from home and family.
We travelled with one family as they made the 100 mile-plus round trip to see their son, who has been in the system for more almost 20 years, and spent time with them as hopes he would be home by Christmas were raised and then dashed.
We also saw how the system can work for a young man making the transition from an institution to community care, and heard from people who have emerged with mental and physical scars from long-term institutional care.
As a result of the investigation the government announced a review into the 40 deaths that is still ongoing. Sky News continues to investigate the treatment of people with a learning disability or autism in the NHS and the wider care system.