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New model to improve learning disability services - LGA

Local authorities, commissioners and healthcare professionals have published draft guidelines designed to improve the care of people with learning disabilities by increasing community-based services.

The programme is a joint effort between NHS England, the LGA, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Health Education England (HEE) and the Department of Health.

The service model defines nine principles that outline what services for people with learning disabilities or autism should look like.

Topping the list is a call for more proactive, preventative care with better identification of people at risk and early intervention, followed by the need to empower them through independent advocacy and greater personal budgets.

The model also covers the benefits of supporting families to care for their children at home, providing greater housing security, and guaranteeing access to services such as education, leisure and mainstream health services.

Other principles include the need for specialist multi-disciplinary support in communities and high-quality hospital services, as well as ensuring all services are aimed at keeping people out of criminal trouble.

The nine principles are intended to underpin the remodelling of local services in the coming years in an effort to shift services away from hospital care.

They should also focus on the individual needs of their local communities and stay on top of localised innovation while still offering patients consistency.

The service model will be used and tested by the five ‘fast track’ areas defined in June at the NHS Confederation conference, where NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens had announced areas that would receive extra support to transform learning disability services.

The areas chosen to receive a £10m ‘transformation fund’ to kick-start services from autumn were Greater Manchester and Lancashire, Cumbria and the North East, Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Stevens spoke in June about learning disability services and said: “We have not finished the job. We need a closure programme for long stay institutions, with more power in the hands of families.”

Any feedback received during testing stages will help the relevant bodies refine the guidance. Consultation opened yesterday (28 July) and will run until 4 September, after which the final model will be published.


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