Team Acts Up to Highlight Issues; Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains How Improving Healthcare Services for People in the North East with Learning Disabilities Is a Key Priority of the Local NHS

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

AN EVENT aimed at improving healthcare services for people with learning difficulties has proved to be a huge success in the region.

A Big Health Day was held in the region this month where more than 100 people with learning disabilities, family carers and NHS staff came together to share their experiences and ideas for improvements.

The local NHS has created a special clinical team dedicated to patients with a learning disability in a bid to safeguard vulnerable people.

The team - with representation from all North East healthcare organisations - is keen to ensure people with learning disabilities and family carers are able to influence and shape their own services.

Supported by Inclusion North, two regional health groups - one for people with learning disabilities and one for family carers - have been established and continue to meet regularly. They work with the team, sharing their experiences and stories of how the system works and where improvement needs to be made.

Dr Dominic Slowie, the chair of the North East team, said: "People with learning disabilities are often vulnerable and the NHS has a duty to make sure they receive the best possible quality of care, with the best possible outcomes, every time they need our services.

"This often means making reasonable adjustments to the standard ways that healthcare is delivered.

"By involving people with learning disabilities, as well as their families and carers, in the development of the best health service in the North East, we are ensuring that services should meet the needs of those who aren't able to communicate well for themselves. …