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NHS England calls for action to improve experience of people with learning disabilities

NHS England calls for action to improve experience of people with learning disabilities
By Valeria Fiore Reporter
29 October 2018

Health, education and care organisations should join a new scheme to better listen to and address the issues experienced by people with learning disabilities and autism, NHS England has said.

The Ask Listen Do scheme has been developed with the paticipation of people with learning disabilities or autism, as well as their families.

The initiative has already been endorsed by four organisations: NHS England Customer Contact Centre, Barts Health NHS Trust, Whole School SEND, and St Andrews Healthcare.

The scheme will be launched on 31 October at the House of Lords by Ray James, national director of learning disabilities for NHS England, and baroness Sheila Hollins – professor of psychiatry of learning disability at St George’s, University of London.

The principles

Healthcare and education organisations will be asked to follow the three Ask Listen Do principles:

  • Ask: the organisation should ensure patients, their family or their carers know how to give feedback
  • Listen: the organisation should listen to the feedback provided and act on it
  • Do: the organisation should change its services in relation to the feedback received

The timing

An NHS England survey of more than 1,200 people with a learning disability, autism or both, their families and carers found that nine out of 10 wanted to raise a concern about the care received but more than a third did not know how.

Mr James said: ‘This initiative is so important in helping to break down any barriers and make sure these conversations count, to help people with learning disabilities, autistic people, and their families to live better, healthier lives.’

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage welcomed the initiative as ‘an essential step forward to ensure people are empowered to speak up, safe in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously, their concerns will be addressed, and lessons will be learnt.’

Last month, the Government decided to endorse all suggestions put forward in the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme’s report. It’s currently asking the public for their views on mandatory learning disability awareness training for NHS and social care staff.


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