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The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative

Responding to the findings of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR programme) is a priority for the West of England. People with learning disabilities die 15-20 years younger than average, and many of these deaths are from avoidable causes, such as pneumonia and sepsis.

The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative was established in early 2019 to address this, by joining forces locally to focus on three key priority areas:

  • Using the National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) and soft-signs tools to support early identification of physical deterioration.
  • Increasing uptake and standardising the quality of annual health checks.
  • Increasing uptake of flu vaccination, including promoting the nasal vaccine as a reasonable adjustment for people with a severe needle phobia. For a Plain-English guide, click here.

The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative is hosted by the West of England AHSN in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement (South West) Learning Disability Programme Lead Nurse.

What have we done so far?

In April 2019, we held our launch event for the Collaborative. With around 130 delegates from a wide range of backgrounds, including people with learning disabilities, the day was a brilliant start.

We believe our health service needs to get better at preventing, recognising and responding to physical deterioration in people with learning disabilities, by adapting systems and services to meet individual needs and by providing reasonable adjustment where necessary.

There are so many passionate people in the region working on these areas, with a desire to work together and bring the kind of collective change only possible through collaboration.

Projects currently underway include: acute trusts testing soft-signs tools; care home providers sharing solutions to improve uptake of annual health checks and flu vaccination; community and mental health trusts training new specialist staff in NEWS2; RESTORE2 being adapted for use with people with learning disabilities; and a passionate family carer is leading a project to ‘Spread the Word’ about flu vaccination.

What next?

On 24 October 2019 we’ll be holding our second learning session. There will be opportunities to learn about recent successes in these areas, as well as the chance to network and join forces with others working to support the Collaborative’s three key priorities. There will be space to consider, in a supportive environment, the many ways in which reasonable adjustment can be applied across services and systems to help us achieve our priorities and improve health outcomes for people with learning disabilities.

Find out more

Join our West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative hive on hyvr (have your vision realised), our social media platform.

For further information, contact Hannah Little, our Learning Disabilities Collaborative Project Manager on Hannah.Little@weahsn.net