This report entitled Human Rights and the Government’s response to COVID-19: the detention of young people who are autistic and/or have learning disabilities is now available. The Committee heard evidence from parents of young people who are autistic and/or have a learning disability and are currently detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. The Committee also heard from the Care Quality Commission and NHS England and NHS Improvement. Apart from the health risks from the virus itself, a particular concern for this vulnerable group of people is the impact of lockdown and the associated restrictions on visiting.
The report recommends many key actions including for NHS England to write immediately to all hospitals in which it commissions placements, requiring them to allow families to visit, unless a risk assessment has been carried out relating to the individual’s circumstances which demonstrates that there are clear reasons specific why it would not be safe to do so. The report also recommends all CQC visits to be unannounced.