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Transforming Care?

BBC Radio 4


In 2018 File on 4 broke the story of young people with learning disabilities who were being kept in unsuitable hospital conditions. The story of Bethany, an autistic teenager who had been locked in a cell for 2 years and fed through a hatch prompted the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to order an investigation. As the results of that inquiry were published File on 4 Transforming Care? checked up on just what has changed for Bethany and others like her who’ve had their most basic human rights denied – here in the UK by the authorities supposed to be caring for them.


This story was the culmination of a two year investigation into the treatment of young people with learning disabilities and autism.

As a result of the first File on 4 programme Matt Hancock personally apologised to the young woman Bethany whose human rights had been entirely violated after she was kept in a cell with no access to fresh air for almost two years. He ordered an inquiry by the CQC and the Joint Committee on Human Rights reviewed this issue and her case. This programme – was the culmination of all that investigation following publication of the CQC report which the first programme prompted.

Despite an inquiry and extensive media coverage following the File on 4 – little has changed for most people. The online piece which accompanied this programme – was viewed 300,000 times and the story was picked up by newspapers. File on 4 will continue to revisit this important story and verify whether the promises made to young people with learning disabilities are being kept.