Two thirds of inpatients with learning disabilities in specialist units are given anti-psychotic medication and a third of all these patients subject to hands-on restraint.

New analysis of the 2013 Learning Disability Census, commissioned in response to events at Winterbourne View Hospital was published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) this week. This report provides further information on inpatients with learning disabilities in England, being treated in specialist units, following publication of the initial findings in December 2013.

The census shows that two thirds of these inpatients (68% or 2,220) had been given anti-psychotic medication in the 28 days preceding the census. Of these, 93% (2,064) had been given them on a regular basis.

Over half of all the patients (57% or 1,841) had experienced an 'incident' during the three months preceding the census date. Incidents were defined as self-harm, an accident, physical assault on the inpatient, hands-on restraint or seclusion. A greater proportion of women than men experienced each of these types of incident.

Further reading: Two thirds of people with learning disabilities in institutions regularly given anti-psychotic medication, report finds

Administration of anti-psychotic medication appears to be associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing hands on restraint. 40% (889 of 2,220) of those given these drugs had experienced at least one episode of hands on restraint, compared to 22% (221) of the 1,030 patients who were not given this type of medication.

This report also contains information relating to patient experience of care including ward accommodation, uses of the Mental Health Act (1983), and information on the commissioning and provision of learning disability services including costs and care planning. It also provides more detailed information on a geographical basis and additional service user profile information.

Avoided further episodes in the future
As previously reported, the majority of the inpatients were aged between 18 and 64 (2,994 or 92%). Nearly one in five (18% or 601) had been inpatients for three months or fewer, compared to three fifths (60% or 1,949) who had been inpatients for a year or more. Among the 1,949 who had been in hospital for a year or more, 572 had been inpatients for five or more years (29%).

Chair of the HSCIC, Kingsley Manning said: "The Learning Disabilities Census, and this further analysis, is an important contribution to understanding how episodes such as those seen at Winterbourne View Hospital can be avoided in the future.

"This further analysis of the census data will aid understanding of the experience of inpatients with learning disabilities nationally, and is an important benchmark.

"It is crucial that service providers have accurate data about complex issues such as these, to help them to develop their understanding and improve their services for patients. Providing this sort of data is a key role for the HSCIC."