The NHS have announced new draft guidelines to help transform the care of people with learning disabilities and/or autism. The new draft service model is the latest piece of work to emerge from the Transforming Care for People with Learning Disabilities programme, which is a joint piece of work between the NHS England, the LGA, ADASS, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Health Education England (HEE) and the Department of Health (DH).
The Service Model sets out nine overarching principles which define what ‘good’ services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism whose behaviour challenges should look like. Highlights include:
- 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;
- 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)
Jolanta Lasota, CEO Ambitious about Autism explains why these principles are so important for those with autism and how they affect their education:
“One in a hundred people in the UK have autism, so it is crucial that government, health care and local authorities understand that with the right support, planning and opportunities across their support network, many people with autism have the ability to lead a fulfilling and purposeful life.
“It is particularly encouraging to see access to leisure activities included in the principles. We have found that for the students at our TreeHouse School and Ambitious College, access to vocational and leisure programmes including horticulture, equine and photography are really important for both their enjoyment and education. These activities can also help to find a career path, so it is crucial to their development.
“Whilst education is crucial to personal development, it can only be effective within a wider framework of good health and social care arrangements. We are delighted to see all-round quality of care for those with autism being addressed by the NHS and hope it goes a long way to supporting those with autism and other less visible disabilities.”