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Local Areas Working Hard To Improve Care Of Adults With Learning Disabilities

Throughout England local areas are working hard to transform the quality, safety and support within care provision for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.

To achieve this, joint working between health services and councils is crucial says the Winterbourne View Stocktake, published this week.

Each local area surveyed submitted a review of its own services agreed with local health and social care partners. Over 340 examples of local good practice have been submitted in the interest of sector self-improvement.

The Winterbourne View Stocktake is a survey of Chief Executives of Local Authorities, Clinical Leads of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the Chairs of Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs), conducted in June 2013.

The Stocktake was implemented as a direct result of the abuse scandal at Winterbourne View Hospital in 2011 that led to a national review of all the individuals in similar hospital settings. It was based on the principle that the changes required as a response to Winterbourne View could only be successfully delivered through local partnerships.

The self-assessment in the survey focuses on developing necessary provision for people with learning disabilities or autism, who may also have additional mental health needs or behaviours described as ‘challenging’; the aim being, to enable them to live independently in their local communities, rather than in hospital.

Cllr Katie Hall, Chair of the LGA’s Health and Wellbeing Board said:

“Councils, Health and Wellbeing Boards and clinical commissioning groups have all been frank about the challenges they face in seeking to transform the quality of support provided for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities.

“We welcome the fact that 340 examples of local good practice have been submitted by councils.  This shows they have taken up the challenge of joint working and partners and are actively engaging in the process of ensuring that we learn valuable lessons from the serious mistakes made at Winterbourne View Hospital.”

Jane Cummings, NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer, said: “The scandal at Winterbourne View served as a watershed to ensure we take all the necessary steps to improve services we provide to people with learning disabilities or autism who present with challenging behaviours.

“NHS England is working in close partnership with the Winterbourne View joint improvement programme and other stakeholders to build on the findings of the stocktake. We have a number of work streams underway and these are focused on enhancing the quality and safety of services in addition to ensuring that staff have the right knowledge, skills and attitude to support these vulnerable individuals.”

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