Head of Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions “despairs” at Learning Disability deaths

THE HEAD of Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions has called for collaboration if there is to be improvement in the number of deaths of people with learning difficulties.

Neil Woodbridge also called for greater collaboration in Thurrock between Thurrock Council and the Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Neil Woodbridge LD

In England and Wales, some 1,311 cases were passed for review between July 2016 and November 2017, with only 103 (8%) finished so far.

Of these, the Learning Disability Mortality Review found failings had taken place in one in eight deaths, from abuse to delays in treatment.

NHS England said £1.4m will be spent this year to complete more reviews.

In its annual report, the Learning Disability Mortality Review said there was a pressing “need for further action”.

It said that in 13 of the 103 cases that had been reviewed, a patient’s health had been “adversely affected” by factors including treatment delays, gaps in service provision, organisational dysfunction or neglect or abuse.

The report made 189 recommendations in relation to the completed reviews, highlighting the need for better communication between different agencies, awareness of the needs of people with learning disabilities and understanding and application of the Mental Capacity Act.
Specific recommendations included:

The creation of a health passport if a person with learning disabilities does not already have one when admitted to hospital

The improvement of signage about waiting times in A&E departments

Quality review group meetings to address poor or unsafe discharges from hospital

GP practices to follow up the reason for non-attendance at annual health checks

The report said: “We have a responsibility to families and others to ensure that any learning points at individual level are taken forward into relevant service improvements as appropriate.”

It added that some improvements had already been made, including changes in the discharge process and the provision of reasonable adjustments for people with learning disabilities.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “We welcome this interim report from the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review programme – the first of its kind in the world.

“These early lessons will feed into hospital and community services’ work including early detection of symptoms of sepsis, pneumonia prevention, constipation and epilepsy, where there is significant progress.

“Another £1.4m more will be spent this year so that those responsible locally – as well as the University of Bristol and HQIP nationally – can ramp up the speed and number of their reviews over the coming year.”

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