Learning disabilities fast track transformation programme

Wed 21st October 2015

Local NHS and social care leaders draw up plans to transform the care of people with learning disabilities and / or autism in Cumbria and the North East.

The region is one of six national ‘Fast Track’ sites tasked to deliver plans to transform support for people with learning disabilities and/or autism over the next 3-5 years. The North East and Cumbria has received £1.4 M from the Transformation Fund to support the initial implementation of the plans.

Following the recommendations from Sir Stephen Bubb’s report “Winterbourne View – Time for Change”, NHS England called for radical changes to the way people receive support involving a significant move away from relying on the use of inpatient beds. This involves boosting community services and building upon an already highly skilled, confident, and value driven workforce to ensure people get what they need when they need it.

Local health and social care leaders got together over the summer with people with learning disabilities as experts by experience, service providers and others such as specialised service commissioners in NHS England. Their challenge was to come up with an overall plan for the region to make sure choice and control will be at the heart of ALL service planning and provision in this transformation.

Each area also has its own local plan. A ‘Confirm and Challenge Group’ of people supported by Sunderland People First and Inclusion North – a not-for-profit organisation supporting people to make inclusion happen – have been involved at an early stage to make sure that plans continue to meet the wants and needs of service users and their families.

Dr David Hambleton, Senior Responsible Officer for the Transformation Programme and Chief Officer for NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said “The regional plan reflects our starting point where we have too many people in NHS inpatient beds, but also the innovative work we have already been developing in the North East and Cumbria.

“We are all passionate about making sure people receive high quality services, that they are supported much earlier than is sometimes the case and that their quality of life is all that they wish it to be. There is a lot to do, but everyone is strongly committed to it. We know that if we can improve the care and support that we offer in the community and intervene early, we will need far fewer beds in the future.

“The ambition for the North East and Cumbria is to be as good a place as anywhere in the world for people with a learning disability and /or autism and a mental illness or behaviour that challenges, to live. “

Lesley Jeavons, Head of Adult Care at Durham County Council and chair of the North East Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Learning Disability Network said “Across the North East and Cumbria there are a number of different arrangements in place for the commissioning and provision of services to people with a learning disability and their carers. This is a real opportunity for all key stakeholders to work in partnership and to review existing arrangements, so ensuring we provide services that are of a high standard and meet the needs of people in their local areas.”

Samantha Clark, Chief Executive of Inclusion North said, “Only by working in true partnership with people with learning disabilities and their families can the right changes be made to services and good community support built. We are working with local commissioners and providers on this programme to make sure that people and families are part of checking how the work is going, and setting up a wider network of local groups.”

Sent on behalf of the North East and Cumbria Learning Disabilities Transformation Programme Board