New draft guidelines for the care of people with learning disabilities

The new draft service model comes as part of the ‘Transforming care for people with learning disabilities programme’ and sets out nine principles that define ‘good’ services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

The nine principles are: providing more proactive, preventative care, with better identification of people at risk and early intervention; empowering people with a learning disability and/or autism, for instance through the expansion of personal budgets and personal health budgets and independent advocacy; supporting families to care for their children at home, and the provision of high-quality social care with appropriate skills; providing greater choice and security in housing; ensuring access to activities and services that enable people with a learning disability and/or autism to lead a fulfilling, purposeful life (such as education, leisure); ensuring access to mainstream health services (including mainstream mental health services in the community); providing specialist multi-disciplinary support in the community, including intensively when necessary to avoid admission to hospital; ensuring that services aimed at keeping people out of trouble with the criminal justice system are able to address the needs of people with learning disabilities and/or autism, and that the right specialist services are in place in the community to support people with a learning disability and/or autism who pose a risk to others; and providing hospital services that are high-quality and assess, treat and discharge people with a learning disability as quickly as possible.

These principles are designed to underpin the redesign of local services over the coming months and years, ensuring that patients and families know what to expect from local care services while also allowing for local innovation. The new guidance will be tested immediately in five areas around the UK.

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