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Learning Disability

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 1 April 2009, Official Report, columns 1223-24W, on learning disability, by what date he expects NHS bodies and councils with social services responsibilities to satisfy themselves that failures similar to those identified by the Health Service Commissioner are not ongoing; how he intends to assess progress in that regard; whether he has directed the Care Quality Commission to take the Commissioner’s report into account; what steps he plans to take to (a) implement and (b) monitor progress against the Commission’s recommendations; and from which departmental budget payments for compensation for distress will be drawn. (281110)

In November 2008, David Nicholson, chief executive of the national health service, wrote to all strategic health authorities (SHAs) to seek assurance that action is being taken across the NHS organisations in their area to promote disability equality and to implement the recommendations in “Healthcare for All”, the report of Sir Jonathan Michael’s independent inquiry on access to healthcare for people with learning disabilities. SHAs have since given a clear commitment to supporting and monitoring implementation of the independent inquiry recommendations in their areas.

The delivery plan for Valuing People Now, the Government’s new three-year strategy for people with learning disabilities, sets out the systems in place to ensure improvements across all services, including better health and healthcare for people with learning, disabilities. The national Learning Disabilities Programme Board has overall responsibility for assuring delivery of Valuing People Now. Each area has a local Learning Disability Partnership Board, which will report annually through their regional board on the action they have taken.

The Valuing People Now healthcare steering group, which includes representation from the Care Quality Commission, has specific responsibility for overseeing delivery of the commitments on better healthcare for people with learning disabilities. It is also working with SHAs to ensure that the ombudsmen’s recommendations are met, including ensuring that all NHS organisations review the systems, capacity and capability they have in place to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities and report on this by March 2010.

Individual cases should be considered at a local level, following the usual routes for redress, where appropriate.