Learning Disabilities Health Facilitation

The South Cumbria Learning Disability Team hosted Health Facilitation events to raise awareness, support and resources of local and national projects to help improve health service experiences and health outcomes for people with learning disabilities. Individuals now have a clearer view of who to go to for support when needed. They will link with relevant health professionals when planning health appointments and hospital procedures for people who are particularly anxious about health interventions to ensure they have accessed the support and advice available in Cumbria. GP Practice nurses discussed health checks and how they would like support to improve these. A service user agreed to give some advice to the GP practices about some of the things practices could do to make health checks even better.

Linda Turner, Community Learning Disability Nurse said:

“Teams will share the information offered about easy read resources, cancer screening, capacity and consent information etc with their colleagues. They have told me they feel they can call our team for advice and guidance regarding health issues and access to health care for people with a learning disability. We will offer advice, signposting and or resources to ensure the person has the best experience possible when using health services and understands as much as possible about their own health in order to make informed decisions. This will help reduce their anxiety and ultimately have great health outcomes. It’s about sharing our learning and knowledge and working as a team.

Julia Smith, our new Lead GP for Learning Disabilities in the Morecambe Bay area said

“Supporting our most vulnerable patients to access regular and high quality healthcare is really important. Those with Learning Disabilities miss out on health checks which the rest of society take for granted. The meeting was a great opportunity for healthcare professionals and carers, who support people with Learning Disabilities, to learn about local services. There is a vast amount of enthusiasm and expertise which we can all benefit from. I would encourage anyone with Learning Disabilities, their carers, and health professionals to come along to future events.”

Clare Strange, Registered Manager, Tarn House Respite provision, Barrow said

“Thank you for the invitation to the Health facilitation event. It was a valuable opportunity to meet health professionals and be informed of the different health initiatives available for adults with learning disabilities. I came away with great advice on how to improve health outcomes for the service I manage” It was also an opportunity to meet a number of local health professionals to share advice about services and the reasonable adjustments they can make to meet people’s needs. Service users, their families and providers explained about their experiences to help guide the ongoing development of our local health services. The sessions were attended by a mixture of health, third sector, GP staff and Specsavers Opticians. There are plans to hold similar events in the north of the county.

For more information, please contact Linda Turner linda.turner@cumbria.nhs.uk .