Health trusts pledge to improve care

PEOPLE with learning disabilities will get better care, health trusts in this region have promised. Last year a national independent inquiry found that people with learning difficulties frequently received a far lower standard of NHS care than the general population.

PEOPLE with learning disabilities will get better care, health trusts in this region have promised.

Last year a national independent inquiry found that people with learning difficulties frequently received a far lower standard of NHS care than the general population. And last month the health service and local government ombudsman found that Mark Cannon, 30, whose father Allan lives in Barton Turf, near Wroxham, died as a result of failures by the NHS and the council in east London. Mr Cannon, who had epilepsy and a severe learning difficulty, died eight weeks after breaking his leg.

Now local health trusts have told the region's NHS what actions they are taking to improve services for this group of patients. The work being done in Norfolk includes a new quality measurement to check people are getting equal access to health services, and in Yarmouth and Waveney, reviewed guidelines should improve access to mental health services for people with learning disabilities. In the rest of Suffolk, action is being taken to help carers from ethnic minority communities. Health promotion programmes and information are being developed specifically for people with learning disabilities in Cambridgeshire, as well as better access to midwives.

Each health trust in the region has looked at how effectively their services meet the needs of people with learning disabilities, and has pledged to significantly improve on current standards over the next two years. They have to produce an action plan, through consultation with councils, people with learning disabilities and their carers, by May 31.


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Paul Cosford, regional director of public health, said: 'The assessments have identified many excellent initiatives already in place across the region, however we recognise that there is still much more to do. People with learning difficulties can find it difficult to access NHS services and we must take steps to make it easier.'

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