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Learning disability services to move into community

A transformation plan aiming to bring learning disability services out of secondary care and into the community has been launched by NHS England today.

The aim is that people with a learning disability and/or autism can live more independent lives and will have greater say about the support they receive.

A national £45m fund from NHS England will be available to aid the transition over the next three years, focusing on ensuring that the right support is available in local areas to enable the first discharges from hospital.

In England, around 24,000 people who have a learning disability and/or autism are classed as being at risk of admission to hospital, and “in too many cases they are used as a long-term option due to a historic lack of community-based services” NHS England said.

In response, Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England said:“Society has failed this group of people for decades. Now is the time to put things right, and with this far-reaching plan I am confident that we can finally make quick, significant and lasting improvements to their lives.” 

Similarly, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “As good and necessary as some inpatient care can be, people with learning disabilities are clear they want to live in homes, not hospitals.

“We've seen some progress over the last few years, but now is the moment to grasp the nettle and build the excellent community-based support that will allow people to move out of hospitals," he added.