Learning difficulty organisations have welcomed a government
consultation on opening up the NHS as evidence that the group is
being accepted more into the mainstream.
The ‘Developing Choice, Responsiveness and Equity in Health and
Social Care’ consultation aims to develop “radical
proposals” on how best to empower patients in a range of NHS
services, including children’s health, continuing care,
mental health, older people’s care, maternity services,
emergency care, elective care and primary care.
Michelle Chinery, co-chairperson of the Learning Disability
Taskforce, believes their views will be fed into all the service
“I don’t think learning disabilities should be
treated separately, but as part of the mainstream health service.
At the moment we get a second class service from the NHS and I hope
the consultation will address that,” she added.
Jo Williams, chief executive of disability charity Mencap,
agreed that learning difficulties perspectives were relevant to all
the areas. “We are talking about 1.5 million people who are
users of the health service – I don’t expect them to be
an add-on,” she said.
Expert groups will be set up to collate views and make
recommendations in the autumn, with the consultation being led by
Harry Cayton, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society.