Support for people with a learning disability

The Public Accounts Committee report, Local support for people with a learning disability, says greater focus is needed on measuring outcomes and improvements to quality of life.

Two years ago, the previous Committee of Public Accounts reported on the Department of Health’s efforts to move people with a learning disability out of mental health hospitals and into the community. At that time, the Committee found that progress had been poor but was promised improvements.

This follow up report finds the Transforming Care programme has moved some people out of hospital, however more needs to be done to address known barriers.  There is also concern that support for people with a learning disability who live in the community is patchy.


Health and Care of People with Learning Disabilities

The report identifies potential differences in the treatment, health status, and outcomes of people with learning disabilities compared with the rest of the population | NHS Digital


It includes information on the percentage of patients known to their GP as having a learning disability who received an annual learning disability health check.

The report includes information on the percentage of eligible patients with a learning disability who had a flu immunisation or screening in 2014-15 and 2015-16 for:LD2

  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

In addition to this, there is information on the life expectancy of people with learning disabilities, and the number of deaths in comparison with the same age and sex specific mortality rate as the general population in the same period.

The full interactive report is available here


Transformation fund call to bid

To support the implementation of the Five Year Forward View vision of better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency, NHS England has created a transformation fund | NHS England



The interventions for which transformation funding are available are:

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are central to this process and all bids should be explicitly linked to the relevant local STP plans. This process is open to any STP, although individual organisations or alliances may bid on behalf of an STP for this funding; submission of applications must be via STPs.

Read the full overview here

Transforming Care Must Know | Children’s and adults’ services

transmforming care

Image source:

The Transforming Care programme is based on the assumption that children, young people and adults with a learning disability and/or autism with behaviours described as challenging have the right to live satisfying and valued lives, and to be treated with dignity and respect. They should have a home within their community, be able to develop and maintain relationships, and get the support they need for a life that is healthy, safe and rewarding.

The Local Government Association is one of six national delivery partners (along with NHS England, the Department of Health, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England) supporting delivery of the programme through sector led improvement, including regional support to Transforming Care Partnerships.

Read the full report here

New app for adults with learning disabilities

New app, ‘My Health Guide‘ for adults with learning disabilities

My Health Guide is an app for iPads and Android tablets, as well as a web service, that puts adults with learning disabilities at the centre of their health care. The app enables people who struggle to communicate to have a voice, and to be empowered about their health care.

It lets adults with learning disabilities capture what’s important for them and helps them manage their health care. Families and friends can keep in touch using the web interface, and healthcare professionals can stay on top of what’s happening in the lives of learning-disabled adults.

The project is undergoing a 6-month trial in 2016 with 200 people at Humber NHS Foundation Trust.

The free app is available to download via iTunes or at Google Play .

This short introductory video for My Health Guide app owners (and potential owners) will help them understand what My Health Guide is, why it’s useful, and how it can help them:

An audit of the quality of inpatient care for adults with learning disability in the UK

Sheenan, R. BMJ Open. 2016. 6:e010480

Objectives: To audit patient hospital records to evaluate the performance of acute general and mental health services in delivering inpatient care to people with learning disability and explore the influence of organisational factors on the quality of care they deliver.

Setting: Nine acute general hospital Trusts and six mental health services.

Participants: Adults with learning disability who received inpatient hospital care between May 2013 and April 2014.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Data on seven key indicators of high-quality care were collected from 176 patients. These covered physical health/monitoring, communication and meeting needs, capacity and decision-making, discharge planning and carer involvement. The impact of services having an electronic system for flagging patients with learning disability and employing a learning disability liaison nurse was assessed.

Results: Indicators of physical healthcare (body mass index, swallowing assessment, epilepsy risk assessment) were poorly recorded in acute general and mental health inpatient settings. Overall, only 34 (19.3%) patients received any assessment of swallowing and 12 of the 57 with epilepsy (21.1%) had an epilepsy risk assessment. For most quality indicators, there was a non-statistically significant trend for improved performance in services with a learning disability liaison nurse. The presence of an electronic flagging system showed less evidence of benefit.

Conclusions: Inpatient care for people with learning disability needs to be improved. The work gives tentative support to the role of a learning disability liaison nurse in acute general and mental health services, but further work is needed to confirm these benefits and to trial other interventions that might improve the quality and safety of care for this high-need group.

Read the full article here

The role of nurses and midwives in meeting the health needs of people with learning (intellectual) disabilities #ebnjc

By rheale. EBN Blog. Published online 11 March 2016.

This week’s EBN Twitter Chat, on Wednesday 16th March 2016 between 20:00 – 21:00 hrs (GMT), will focus on the role of nurses and midwives in meeting the health needs of people with learning (intellectual) disabilities. The Twitter Chat (#ebnjc) will be hosted by Ruth Northway (@NorthwayRuth) who is a Professor of Learning Disability Nursing.

There is growing international evidence that people with learning (intellectual) disabilities experience inequalities in relation to their health (for example Anderson et al, 2013; Emerson et al, 2011; Krahn and Fox, 2014).  Whilst, overall, their life expectancy has increased over the past century (Coppus, 2013) they still, on average, have a reduced life expectancy compared with the general population (Coppus, 2013; Heslop et al, 2013).

Emerson et al (2011) present evidence suggesting that there are a number of factors that contribute to such inequalities namely:

·  People with learning (intellectual) disabilities may be at increased risk of exposure to established determinants of poorer health such as poverty. They may also experience increased vulnerability when exposed.

·  Some genetic and biological causes of learning (intellectual) disabilities may lead to increased risks of certain health problems.

· They may experience communication difficulties and have reduced health literacy.

·  They may engage in behaviours that lead to increased personal health risks.

·  They may experience poor access to healthcare and other support services. When such services are received they may not be of an acceptable quality.

Read the full blog post here