A NEW package of measures has been unveiled aimed at improving healthcare for people in the region who have learning disabilities.

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership says the move is designed to tackle inequalities which are faced from early in life and stem from barriers to accessing appropriate and effective services.

In this region, a group has been formed and a programme launched to drive forward initiatives to ensure equitable care for people with learning disabilities – including analysing housing needs, supporting discharge from hospital and helping people into employment.

Work is also being carried out to ensure people attend their annual health and screening checks and families are being involved in raising awareness and delivering training to help services improve their care provision.

Dr Sara Munro is the chief executive officer lead for mental health, learning disabilities and autism with the partnership.

“We believe it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that people with learning disabilities are as healthy as they can be," she said. "They should experience the best possible healthcare.”

According to a recent report, people with learning disabilities still die much younger than the rest of the population – on average by 20 years – and are three times more likely to die from causes that could have been avoided.

Dr Munro added: “Our objectives are clear – people with learning disabilities who live in West Yorkshire and Harrogate will live longer, healthier lives; they will have better patient experiences and outcomes and our health and care services will be regarded as an example of best practice.

“Our primary care partners are already making great strides. Over 75 per cent of people with learning disabilities in this region are being offered an annual health check and we have introduced an e-learning programme for anyone who wants to know more about how to help the people they care for.

“We are building on this work with the implementation of consistent standards across the whole of the area and we work closely with our panel of health and care ‘champions’ to develop and test our ideas.”

For further information, visit wyhpartnership.co.uk/news-and-blog/news/partnership-drives-towards-improving-health-and-care-people-learning-disabilities.