Support for people with a learning disability

NHS England has announced that patients with a learning disability, autism or both are set to benefit from over £10 million investment to help them lead more independent lives, closer to their friends and family.  The funding will support fourteen local Transforming Care Partnerships to work with service users and providers to develop new, high-quality, community services for people in their area.

These include:

  • In Bradford, intensive support for children showing challenging behaviour in an effort to avoid the need for residential schooling;
  • In the South of England, action to help people move from long-term inpatient care into more appropriate facilities in their own communities, and;
  • In Berkshire, funding for a multi-disciplinary community service to support people, helping to speed up the closure of an inpatient unit.

Support for people with a learning disability

The Public Accounts Committee report, Local support for people with a learning disability, says greater focus is needed on measuring outcomes and improvements to quality of life.

Two years ago, the previous Committee of Public Accounts reported on the Department of Health’s efforts to move people with a learning disability out of mental health hospitals and into the community. At that time, the Committee found that progress had been poor but was promised improvements.

This follow up report finds the Transforming Care programme has moved some people out of hospital, however more needs to be done to address known barriers.  There is also concern that support for people with a learning disability who live in the community is patchy.

Local support for people with a learning disability

This report from the National Audit Office examines how the NHS in England and local authorities seek to improve the lives of the 129,000 people aged 18 to 64 who use local authority learning disability support services.

Key Facts


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The report also assesses the setting up of the Transforming Care programme which aims to move some of the 2,500 people with a learning disability and/or autism out of mental health hospitals; and progress of the programme

The key questions of the report are:

• How much does the government spend on supporting people with a learning disability?

• Is support improving outcomes?

• Has the Department made progress with its programme to provide community services and reduce mental health hospital beds for people with a learning disability?

The full report can be viewed here

Safe, sustainable and productive staffing

An improvement resource for learning disability services | NHS Improvement


This improvement resource is for community and inpatient learning disability services. It is designed to help commissioners and providers of NHS commissioned services to create, review and sustain safe and effective specialist health services within the resources available for people with a learning disability, who have a wide range of needs and varying levels of disability. Our ambition is to make a sustainable difference to the quality and consistency with which safe and therapeutic services for people with learning disabilities are delivered.

Read the full resource here

Help for people with learning disabilities to live independently

Local authorities are being invited to apply for a share of the £25 million housing and technology fund for people with learning disabilities.

The funding will allow the creation of a range of housing and technology options which could include floor sensors to monitor for falls or finger-print technology to make access as easy as possible for residents. This £25 million fund builds on £20 million already earmarked by NHS England as part of its Transforming Care programme.

The main aims of the fund are to:

  • use new technologies to improve and adapt existing accommodation, enabling people to remain living independently
  • prevent unnecessary in-patient admissions
  • provide solutions for people who require urgent housing and are at risk of entering inappropriate services like hospital or residential care
  • encourage community-based solutions that promote independence and choice over housing
  • save money and resources – specially adapted housing reduces the need for costly hands-on care


New app for adults with learning disabilities

New app, ‘My Health Guide‘ for adults with learning disabilities

My Health Guide is an app for iPads and Android tablets, as well as a web service, that puts adults with learning disabilities at the centre of their health care. The app enables people who struggle to communicate to have a voice, and to be empowered about their health care.

It lets adults with learning disabilities capture what’s important for them and helps them manage their health care. Families and friends can keep in touch using the web interface, and healthcare professionals can stay on top of what’s happening in the lives of learning-disabled adults.

The project is undergoing a 6-month trial in 2016 with 200 people at Humber NHS Foundation Trust.

The free app is available to download via iTunes or at Google Play .

This short introductory video for My Health Guide app owners (and potential owners) will help them understand what My Health Guide is, why it’s useful, and how it can help them: