Health Services: Learning Disability

Health written question – answered on 7th June 2011.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what steps he is taking to ensure that people with profound and multiple learning difficulties have access to personalised services; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what recent representations his Department has received on the personalisation of services for people with profound and multiple learning difficulties; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what steps his Department is taking to (a) monitor and (b) assess the effectiveness of the personalisation of services for people with profound and multiple learning difficulties; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Department is not directly involved in monitoring or assessing services. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for assessing and ensuring the quality of its inspection and monitoring of specific providers on a day to day basis.

We know that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and those whose behaviours are viewed as challenging have not benefited from personalisation as much as they should have. The Government have encouraged a move away from out of area placement and the development of small-scale services which are closer to home.

The Government are funding the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and the National Strategy Group for Challenging Behaviour to:

strengthen their national network; support best practice to drive improvements in services; and develop a national care pathway with all key partners.

In addition, we have driven forward work to improve the way in which the national health service responds to the needs of all people with learning disabilities, including general practitioners offering all people with learning disabilities annual health checks.

The Department is working with strategic health authorities and primary care trusts to embed a health care self-assessment process which engages local decision makers, people with learning disabilities and their families to drive up quality of health care provision locally. The first section of standards explicitly refers to out of area placements and ensuring they are delivering for individuals.

A number of representations have recently been made via parliamentary questions. I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave Hywel Williams on 26 April 2011, Hansard, columns 108-09W.

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