Agenda item

Update on learning disability services

To be informed of the services and support offered to adults with learning difficulties who require support with their day to day living.


The Committee was provided with an update on services for those with learning disabilities.


During the discussion of this item the following points were made:


·         Colin Archer, Head of Learning Disability Services, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, indicated that the Community Team for People with Learning Disabilities provided advice, support, assessment, treatment and therapies to support adults with learning disabilities with their specialist health related needs. 

·         The team worked with people and their families, Optalis, the Council, local GP’s, acute hospital staff, private providers, and the Learning Disability Partnership Board. 

·         Colin Archer outlined challenges and opportunities that were faced.  For example, those with learning difficulties tended to have poorer health than the general population.

·         Members were notified of the Transforming Care programme which sought to ensure people were supported in their community.  Nationally there was an aim to reduce the frequency and length of admissions to specialist hospitals.  A national service model had suggested that Berkshire needed to reduce its specialist beds by between 40-50%.

·         The Committee was informed of the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities.  In response to a question from Councillor Loyes, Colin Archer explained that locally there was also an internal mortality review process in place.

·         Councillor Dolinski questioned how the Community Team coordinated with the acute services when required and was informed that there was a Learning Disability Liaison Officer based at the Royal Berkshire Hospital who liaised closely with the Community Team. 

·         The Committee noted likely future service provision.


·         Mimi Konigsberg, Interim Head of Adult Social Care and Safeguarding updated Members from a social care point of view.

·         It was noted that people with a learning disability were referred to the Adult Assessment Team to discuss their care and support needs.  If they met the eligibility criteria, a Personal Budget would be set so that a bespoke package of care could be arranged. 

·         Councillor Loyes asked about the allocation of direct payments and how the eligibility criteria was set.  Lorna Willis, Service Innovation Manager, explained that the eligibility criteria was based on that set out in the Care Act.  With regards to allocations the aim was to make allocations quickly following assessment.

·         Support was also provided with regards to employment and housing.  Members were informed of the advocacy services available.

·         Wokingham had an active Learning Disability Partnership.  Members questioned what issues were frequently raised at the Partnership.  Housing and access to health services were recurring topics of discussion.

·         The Committee discussed transition from child to adult services.  Services that people with learning disabilities had when they were children were often different to those they received when they reached adulthood and it was important to manage expectations.  Mimi Konigsberg commented that it needed to be made clear at an earlier stage that services provided could be different when the person transferred to adult services.

·         Mimi Konigsberg clarified that those with learning disabilities up to the age of 25 received services from children and young people’s services.

·         Councillor Smith questioned whether the total Learning Disability budgets of £18,931,030 related to Wokingham Borough only.  Lorna Willis confirmed that this was the case.

·         Councillor Smith went on to question the underspend relating to the Learning Disability Registered Residential.  Lorna Willis explained that nationally there was a move away from placing individuals within registered residential provision where possible.

·         In response to a question from Councillor Blumenthal about the number of individuals with learning difficulties who were living with elderly parents within the Borough, Lorna Willis commented that this was a challenge.

·         It was noted that it was difficult to find housing solutions in the local area due to the high cost of housing.  Councillor Dolinski queried what impact employment had on housing.  Mette Le Jakobsen indicated that whilst employment had a positive effect on health and wellbeing in general it did not affect housing availability and the complexities of which individuals were able to live together.


RESOLVED: That the update on learning disability services be noted.

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