Learning Disability Week is all about listening

‘Hear My Voice’ is the theme of this year’s Learning Disability Week which runs from today.

The week aims to give people and their families a voice in shaping services – bringing their ‘lived experience’ and perspective to NHS England’s work programme, helping to co-design new and better services.

Dr Dominic Slowie, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Learning Disability, explained: “When we are working to improve quality of care for this vulnerable group the most efficient place to start is by asking the people using the services what is working and what isn’t?

“We’ve engaged with many individuals and groups representing people with learning disabilities who have provided valuable perspectives and challenges. This has enabled us to focus and prioritise our work.

“We are in an exciting time of transformation in the NHS for a vulnerable population who have felt undervalued and not listened too for far too long.”

The week also reinforces NHS England’s commitment to improving the health and outcomes of people with learning disabilities and autism, and transforming services to improve the quality of care throughout peoples’ lives.

It is one of NHS England’s priorities for 2015/16 ensuring that we deliver the best care now, while re-designing services for the future, ideally ensuring that services are in the community and close to home

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens made his personal pledge to “help drive through change for people with learning disabilities” as part of NHS Change Day in March.

He spent the day talking to people with learning disabilities and their families about how to overhaul the support they get by giving them the clout to ensure their needs and choices really count.

Throughout this week there will be blogs from various national NHS figures, starting today with Dr Dominic Slowie.