It is estimated that approximately 2% of the adult population has a learning disability. On average, males with a learning disability die 22 years younger than males from the general population, and females 26 years younger than females from the general population (2021 LeDeR Report). Many of these deaths continue to be from avoidable causes, such as pneumonia and sepsis. The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative (LDC) was established in early 2019, and initially focused on three key priority areas:

  • Using the National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) and soft-signs tools such as RESTORE2 to support early identification of physical deterioration. Read about NEWS2.
  • Increasing uptake and standardising the quality of annual health checks. Read about Annual Health Checks from NHS England.
  • Increasing uptake of flu vaccination, including promoting the nasal vaccine as a reasonable adjustment for people with a severe needle phobia.

The West of England LDC ceased in its prior format in March 2022 and was relaunched to cover the entire NHS South West region. The new South West LDC is funded and delivered in partnership with NHS England South West.

With over 300 members, the reformed collaborative shares learning and best practice across the South West and focuses on the adoption and spread of tested diagnostics, products and technology that supports both people with, and those who care for people with, a learning disability.



Read our April 2022 Learning Disabilities Collaborative newsletter here. You can sign up to receive these newsletters by completing the form at the end of this webpage.

Videos – increasing the uptake of Annual Health Checks

In 2021, the West of England AHSN were commissioned by NHS England South West (NHSE SW) to create a suite of videos to assist healthcare professionals in increasing the uptake of Annual Health Checks for people with a learning disability.


A second suite of videos for people with a learning disability, carers and family members who may want to learn more about the check is also available. A number of the videos feature Misfits Theatre Company. Videos also discuss managing oral health to avoid future complications and how a Health Action Plan can be of benefit.

This project was selected by NHS England as an exemplar case study for the LeDeR 2021-22 Action from Learning Report (see pages 25 and 45).

Caring for residents at risk of deterioration – videos

The West of England AHSN collaborated to produce a series of free videos and e-learning materials to help carers support residents who are at risk of deterioration.

The short training videos are freely available in a YouTube playlist. These introductory films – which have been watched over 700,000 times – help spot the signs of deterioration and serious illness such as sepsis.

Each video is around 3-4 minutes each – it will take just over 40 minutes to watch the series.

COVID-19 resources for carers and people with a learning disability

NHSE SW, working with the Misfits Theatre Company, have filmed a video to encourage people with learning disabilities to have the COVID booster.

Find out more about our work supporting carers for people with learning disabilities during COVID-19.

Oral healthcare toolkit

A PDF toolkit has been produced by Katy Kerr on behalf of Health Education England, in collaboration with the West of England AHSN and NHSE SW, to provide information on oral health to support the care of people with a learning disability.

Access the PDF oral health guidance.

Access Makaton prompt cards related to dentist appointments.

Virtual collaborative events – webinar recordings

View recordings of West of England Learning Disabilities Collaboration virtual events held in 2020 and 2021.

Acute care toolkit

The Royal College of Physicians have launched an acute care toolkit (April 2022). They recommend all staff working in acute medical units should read the toolkit, as they will care for people with a learning disability during the course of their day-to-day activities. An Easy Read version of the toolkit is also available to download. Access the toolkit.

Case study: supporting personalised care for people with a learning disability in care homes

The Baywater Telehealth Application has been used on a trial basis across care homes in Gloucestershire to assist staff in spotting the signs of deterioration in residents with a learning disability. Read our Baywater case study.

Video – supporting people with learning disabilities

Watch this short video which shares news on the work across Gloucestershire to support people with a learning disability, including the importance of Annual Health Checks.

Template letters

Check out these excellent resources from our colleagues at the Sirona Community Learning Disability Team:

Flu vaccines and reasonable adjustments: videos and resources

On behalf of the NHS, Misfits Theatre Company created a video which tackles the misinformation surrounding the flu vaccination and urges people with a learning disability and their carers (paid or unpaid) to get their flu vaccine.

The company also produced a video on how reasonable adjustments can help people with a learning disability and/or autism live longer and healthier lives. Reasonable adjustments are a legal requirement to make sure health services are accessible to all disabled people. Read more about the nasal vaccine as a reasonable adjustment.

For a Plain-English guide to the flu vaccination, click here.

Find out more and get involved

For further information about the collaborative, please contact our patient safety team and/or sign up to receive the collaborative’s newsletter below: