National drive to improve mental health checks for people with learning disabilities

13 January 2017

This week the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a new quality standard to ensure that people with learning disabilities have their mental health checked annually.

Around 21,000 people have learning disabilities in the Cheshire and Wirral area, almost 2% of the population. Around 40% of people with learning disabilities are known to experience mental health problems at any point in time and some specific types of mental health problems are more common in people with learning disabilities than those without.

In line with the national strategy, ‘Building the Right Support’, Cheshire & Merseyside has a local plan to set out how local health and social care providers will transform services for people of all ages with a learning disability and/or autism, including those with a mental health condition. The drive is to develop better home- and community-based support and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions by 2019.

Consultant Psychiatrist at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), Sujeet Jaydeokar, says: “A learning disability affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate - it affects everyday life for the person and their family. Some people can have multiple conditions such as epilepsy, other physical health problems, autism, and other developmental and mental health problems. Mental health problems can be more difficult to diagnose for people with learning disabilities because it can be harder for the person to explain how they are feeling and what help they would like. We welcome the new guidance that puts mental health on the same par as physical health.”

Andy Styring, Director of Operations at CWP, says: “As part of the Cheshire and Merseyside Transforming Care Partnership, CWP is committed to developing improved services and support with local people who access services, their families and carers. We are working alongside people with learning disabilities to co-produce and deliver a new ‘stepped’ model of support that will take all needs into consideration and enable people to live more independently in their local community.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated CWP outstanding overall for services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, as well as outstanding for being caring and responsive.

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