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‘No progress’ on community improvements for people with learning disabilities, says head of NHS review

22 July 2015 - 4:00pm

Community services for people with learning disabilities have made no ‘tangible progress’ since an NHS review called for improvements last year.

‘No progress’ on community improvements for people with learning disabilities, says head of NHS review

Community teams need better infrastructure to allow people with learning disabilities to move out of inpatient settings. Photo: Mencap

This is according to Sir Stephen Bubb who headed the 2014 review, published by NHS England’s Transforming Care and Commissioning Steering Group.

Mr Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, said the pace of change had been ‘unacceptably’ slow over the past year.

He blamed this on a lack of communication between NHS England and the charities and community organisations delivering services in the field.

The review called for a charter of rights for people with learning disabilities and autism, and recommended that commissioners should invest in community services to support those rights.

Physiotherapy was not recognised in the review as an area of investment, however.

Jenny Tinkler, chair of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists for People with Learning Disabilities, told Frontline: ‘Community teams need a better infrastructure to allow people with learning disabilities to move out of inpatient settings, but these reforms have failed to identify that physiotherapists should be part of those teams.

‘Physios provide a valuable link for people moving out of hospital. We do a lot of work liaising with mainstream services and we can support people’s physical health needs.’

Ms Tinkler added that commissioners should invest in physio resources and facilities, such as community-based hydrotherapy pools.

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