Learning disabilities

All of the services we commission must meet the needs of people with learning disabilities.  We will commission further services specifically for this patient group, but fundamentally we are focussing on all services.

Commissioning learning disabilities services

During 2014/15 we have focussed on securing good, community placements for people who were previously in assessment and treatment facilities in the county. 

We continue to enjoy an excellent level of recording and action planning for the health and care needs of people with learning disabilities in primary care.

In the last 12 months we have also brought together our two community providers of learning disabilities services and will continue to encourage them to work closely together. 

Our plans for 2015/16 include:

  • Redesigning the way in which we care for all people with learning disabilities through both a Northumberland and a north east wide transformation programme. In particular, we will focus on reducing the (north east wide) reliance upon inpatient beds, through the transformation of services in the mental health trust
  • Securing community placements for all people with learning disabilities who have been in assessment and treatment facilities.  (Note: this programme is nearing completion)
  • Improving the physical health plans for people with learning disabilities. We are building on our excellent baseline position in Northumberland as regional leaders in health check uptake
  • Improving the community based learning disabilities services by bringing together the mental health and community services providers with social care, to ensure we have a single service designed explicitly around the patient needs

Financial recovery already achieved in learning disabilities services

To date, we focussed on understanding the service configurations and needs of people with learning disabilities. 

Financial recovery planned for 2015/16

Based on the detailed analysis of services, we are planning a recovery programme, with the local authority, that focusses on reducing expenditure in s117 placements by increasing their effective management.  In addition to reviewing existing spend, we have also developed a local policy (between health and social care commissioners) , describing how Northumberland organisations will work together to deliver the changes required and to develop joint commissioning under Section 117 for all of those patients with a learning disability.   This work is expected to deliver c£1m in savings, in addition to the improvements in patient outcomes.

We plan to develop the community infrastructure for learning disabilities services in order to radically reduce our reliance upon in patient care in Northumberland (and more broadly across the north east)  and in doing so, will address the ‘Transforming Care’ programme requirement to:

  • Prevent unnecessary admission to hospitals
  • Begin discharge planning at point of admission
  • Incorporate best practice models of care
  • Develop Individual Service Designs that reflect personal needs and choices in partnership with patients, carers and families
  • Deliver care in the most appropriate setting
  • Support people to lead full and meaningful lives and play an active role in their community
  • Provide best value quality services by commissioning in innovative ways and supporting the use of personal health budgets

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