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To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that new GP consortia will provide annual health checks for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; what arrangements he plans to put in place to consider the specific health needs of such people; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what arrangements his Department has put in place to ensure that the boards of NHS trusts consider the specific health needs of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement;
(3) how services will be commissioned for people with complex needs under his Department's proposals for the NHS; and if he will make a statement.
Subject to the NHS Listening Exercise and the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, the NHS Commissioning Board will commission national and regional specialised services with commissioning consortia responsible for commissioning other complex services. Through consortia, general practitioners (GPs) and other clinicians will have new opportunities to shape the way that health services are designed and delivered. Taking into account the increasing range of NICE Quality Standards, consortia will work closely with secondary care and other health care professionals, and with community partners, to design joined-up services, and optimal care pathways, that make sense to patients, families and the public. They will have the freedom to seek the commissioning support they need to do this.
We will ensure that there is particular emphasis within the ‘pathfinder’ programme on testing ways of ensuring that consortia quickly develop knowledge and expertise in relation to more complex and specialist services. We will also ensure that the NHS Commissioning Board has a particular focus on promoting quality improvement in relation to more complex or specialist services. This will include exploring joint commissioning with local authorities, for instance in relation to care and support for children (including looked after children and children living in families with multiple problems), people with long-term mental health conditions, and people with learning disabilities.
In addition, local authorities and commissioning consortia will be required to prepare a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). This is to ensure that each area develops a comprehensive analysis of the current and future needs of their area (including those relevant to health, social care, public health). Based on the JSNA, the members of the Health and Wellbeing Board will be required to develop a joint health and well-being strategy for their area.
Arrangements for annual health checks for people with learning disabilities are currently covered by a Directed Enhanced Service, which forms part of the overall contractual framework for GP practices. Under the future commissioning arrangements proposed in the Health and Social Care Bill, the NHS Commissioning Board would be responsible for commissioning services from GP practices and for negotiating any changes to GP contracts.