Learning Disabilities

Health written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Jones Mr Nigel Jones Liberal Democrat, Cheltenham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on health provision for (a) children and (b) adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

Both children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities have the same right of access to national health service treatment as everyone else. Our White Paper, "Valuing People—a New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" (Cm 5086, paragraph 8.33), recognises that people with severe and profound learning disabilities often have other associated health problems such as physical disabilities, sensory impairments and epilepsy.

The White Paper says that specialist learning disability staff have important roles in enhancing the competence of other local services to support service users in their usual surroundings and in enabling them to access mainstream services. Good practice guidance on "Valuing People" proposals for health action plans and health facilitation devotes a full chapter to people with sensory impairments and/or profound and multiple learning disabilities.

"Valuing People" made people with severe and profound learning disabilities a priority for Learning Disability Development Fund (LDDF) capital investment. When we wrote to chief executives of primary care trusts in February 2004, we asked them to take account of the needs of people with high support needs when deciding how best to use their 2004–05 LDDF revenue allocations.

We are also developing the children's national service framework (NSF), which will set new national standards for the NHS and social services. Services for disabled children will be a key part of the NSF, which will include care pathways/exemplar diagrams illustrating optimum approaches to delivering services in a number of different areas.

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