House of Commons Library

Learning Disability - policies and issues

Published Tuesday, April 26, 2016

House of Commons Library briefing on policies and services for people with a learning disability in England.

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This briefing provides an overview of policies and services for people with a learning disability in England.

The Government and NHS England have committed to reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities and have established national programmes to improve treatment and outcomes. The Government’s Mandate to the NHS 2016-17 set an objective for the NHS to close the health gap between people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and autism and the population as a whole.

In June 2015, NHS England commissioned the National Learning Disability Mortality Review Programme led by the University of Bristol, to review and learn from deaths of people with a learning disability with the aim of improving services, care and support nationally. The three-year project will investigate the causes of premature mortality for people with a learning disability and will develop a strategy to reduce this inequality. The Government’s Mandate to the NHS 2015-16 and 2014-15 also set specific objectives to reduce excess mortality for adults under 60 with a learning disability.

The Government and NHS England have also committed to reducing the number of people with a learning disability who are placed in inpatient services. NHS England’s Transforming Care programme intends to improve the quality of life of those with learning disabilities by substantially reducing the number of people placed in hospital, reducing the length of time those admitted spend there, and enhancing the quality of both hospital and community settings. The Government’s Mandate to the NHS 2016-17 set an objective for the NHS to increase the number of people with learning disabilities/autism being cared for by community not inpatient services.

In 2015, NHS England, in partnership with local government leaders, published a national action plan to develop community services and close inpatient facilities for people with a learning disability and/or autism. The Building the Right Support[1] plan aims to shift money from inpatient services to the community, and reduce the use of inpatient beds by 35% - 50% in the next three years.

From June 2016, the Department of Health will publish independently assured ratings of the quality of healthcare offered to people with learning disabilities in all CCG areas, to highlight variations and to allow rapid action to be taken when improvement is needed.

NHS England and NHS Employers are also working together on a national programme to support NHS organisations to increase employment of people with learning disabilities in the NHS.

The briefing also looks at recent policy changes in the areas of employment, welfare, education and criminal justice.

 

 

[1]     NHS England, Building the right support, October 2015

Commons Briefing papers SN07058

Authors: Elizabeth Parkin; Aliyah Dar

Topics: Disability discrimination, Health services, Mental health, Sickness, disability and carers' benefits, Special educational needs

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