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Saturday 14 December 2019
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News in learning disabilities April to June 2014

This is BILD's News service for those in our community. See the latest news that affects people with learning disabilities, their families and those who work to support them.


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27 June 2014: Stock Exchange first charity bond to buy houses
Investors can earn about 4.4pc interest a year by lending money to a charity that enables people with learning disabilities to live independently. The seven-year bonds, issued by Golden Lane Housing are the first to raise money through a new platform designed specifically for charity bonds.  More >   

25 June 2014: "We need to see every sort of person represented in the media"

A girl of seven with Down’s Syndrome has been chosen from hundreds of hopefuls as the face of a major children’s clothing campaign. The decision by Sainsbury’s to use Natty Goleniowska to advertise school uniforms is a step  forward in making children with the condition more accepted, say campaigners. Natty, from Padstow, Cornwall, will star in the Back To School campaign online, in stores and in magazines later this summer.

“It would be nice,” says her mother, Hayley, “if this wasn’t news. But we are grateful that Sainsbury’s chose Natty for the shoot. The more that advertising is inclusive — showing children in wheelchairs, with Down’s syndrome or any other disability — the better. And one day, we hope it won’t be surprising.”

Read an interview with Hayley about her experience as a mother of a child with Down Syndrome >

19 June 2014: Heptathlon Gold at Euro Championships

The GB Team has returned to the UK with a total of four medals from the Inas Open European Athletics Championships, which took place in Bergen Op Zoom in the Netherlands last week. Nineteen-year-old heptathlete Martina Barber from Stevenage, pictured above, stole the show with an impressive point total of 3,229 across the heptathlon's eight individual events, which secured her the gold medal.  More >

18 June 2014: CQC publish '3 Lives' report 
The stories of how three young people and their families were let down by learning disability services are at the heart of a new report from the Care Quality Commission, with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF). The report, called ‘3 Lives’, looks at the experiences of three young people with learning disabilities. Connor - who tragically died at an assessment and treatment centre after he was found unconscious after a seizure whilst unsupervised in a bath; Kayleigh - who spent 10 years in assessment and treatment centers, including Winterbourne View, and Lisa - who was kept for the majority of the time in a locked area at an assessment and treatment centre with staff interacting with her through a small letterbox style hatch.  Download the report >  

13 June 2014: MBE for Gavin Harding

The Deputy Mayor of Selby Town, Gavin Harding, has been given an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. He's been given the honour for his work representing people with learning disabilities in a range of ways, including being active in the National Forum. Congratulations from BILD Gavin!  More >

10 June 2014: Quality of Life standards launched

On 10th June Care Minister Norman Lamb launched a national set of Quality of Life standards which have been written by over 650 young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism alongside their peers with disabilities. The standards, cover all areas of a person’s life from where they live, to where they work and how they are an equal member of the community, are intended to raise the aspirations of people with learning disabilities and their families from around the country so they can both speak out and take action when people with learning disabilities are not being supported to live as equal citizens.  More  > 

9 June 2014: Wake-up call over reality of family caring

Research published to mark Carers Week 2014 reveals worrying public ignorance of the rising call on families to provide unpaid care.The reality is that 6.5 million people – that’s 1 in 8 adults – are already caring for a family member or close friend who is frail or facing long-term illness or disability. Adults of all ages drastically underestimate the issue, with only a tiny fraction (9%) of the nation correctly stating the true scale of unpaid, family care. And while numbers are predicted to rise to 9 million by 2037, most adults don’t think caring will happen to them. Less than a third of adults who are currently not carers (29%) believe it likely they will become carers in the future, the survey found.  More  > 

9 June 2014: Autism costs '£32bn per year' in UK

The economic cost of supporting someone with autism over a lifetime is much higher than previously thought, research suggests. It amounts to £1.5m in the UK and $2.4m in the US for individuals with the highest needs, say UK and US experts. Autism cost the UK more than heart disease, stroke and cancer combined, said an autism charity. But only £6.60 per person is spent on autism research compared with £295 on cancer, according to Autistica.  More >

8 June 2014: New rights for Wales’ 370,000 carers in April 2016
Carers in Wales will have equal legal rights to those they look after when a landmark Welsh law comes into force in April 2016, the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas said today to mark the beginning of Carers Week. There are estimated to be more than 370,000 carers in Wales, 90,000 of whom look after family and friends for at least 50 hours a week. Between 70% and 95% of the care provided to people in communities across Wales is given freely by family and friends.  More > 

27 May 2014: Mumford offers to resign over Womaston
Norman Lamb refuses Bill Mumford's offer of resignation over police investigation of abuse claims at Womaston, a MacIntyre school in Powys. Lamb said: "My best understanding at this time is that MacIntyre has dealt with the [Womaston] situation swiftly and appropriately." It was, on balance, "in the best interests of everyone involved in the programme for Bill to continue in his leadership role".  More on resignation offer >    More on Womaston >

16 May 2014: The National Learning Disabilities Awards
A fantastic night at the National Learning Disability Awards at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. Sponsored by Care Talk and BILD, a happy evening saw lots of finalists, awards presented, excitement and pizzazz and a real celebration of great practice.  See all the winners > 

8 May 2014: The 2014 BILD Positive Behaviour Support Leadership Awards -  A night to celebrate great practice

BILD created these awards so we could recognise some of the many examples of good practice by people and organisations working in the field. 

Over the years some great work has been recognised and celebrated –and this year is no exception. The Awards were presented at the Conference dinner at this year's BILD PBS International Research and Practcie Conference in Glasgow last night. Those Commended and Award Winners were:

  • For Developing a national approach in Positive Behaviour Support, Hazel Powell, Programme Director at NHS Education for Scotland, was Commended in the category Innovative Practice supporting Adults
  • for Positive Pathways: a Positive Behaviour Support programme for family carers of people with autism, Anne MacDonald of The Richmond Fellowship Scotland was this year’s Winner of the Award for Innovative Practice supporting Adults
  • For:  A case study – applying PBS into practice, Lisa Alcorn, of the North East Autism Society was Commended in the category Innovative Practice supporting Children and Young People
  • Paul McWade, of Halton Borough Council's Positive Behaviour Support Service was Winner in both the category for Innovative Practice supporting Children and Young People and the category for Innovative Practice supporting Adults 
  • A Special Award to the founders of the Facebook PBS Chat group for using social media to facilitate communication and discussion about positive behaviour support. Join the group here >

Read the citations >

Congratulations to all!

29 April 2014: The LD Census Further Analysis published
The Health and Social Care Information Centre has published further analysis of the survey carried out on 30 September 2013 to meet action 17 in “Transforming Care: A national response to Winterbourne View Hospital”  to provide “an audit of current services for people with challenging behaviour to take a snapshot of provision, numbers of out of area placements and lengths of stay.”

The census information was collected on 30th September 2013 from 104 provider organisations (58 NHS and 48 private) about the 3,250 individuals who met the inclusion criteria. 

The report published provides additional information and includes the reasons for admission, use of anti-psychotic medication, reported incidents including restraint and seclusion, legal status, planning for care and the costs of services. More and download the report >

Read BILD's analysis of the report and response >

Radio 4's You and Yours also covered the Learning Disability Census which showed that people with learning disabilities are being placed in assessment and treatment units far from their home and families, some of them for many years, listen here > 

24 April: People with learning disabilities at risk of 'avoidable deaths'

More must be done to prevent avoidable deaths among people with learning disabilities, the parliamentary health watchdog has warned, launching their new Complain for Change campaign, “too many” people with learning disabilities are not getting access to the right care and treatment in an appropriate time − which in some cases leads to preventable deaths".  More >

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has launched a new campaign, 'Complain for Change' on this issue. Find out more >

This was also covered in Radio 4's You and Yours programme >

11th April 2014: Simpler bus times website launched
A new website has been launched to simplify public transport in Gloucestershire for people with learning disabilities. The Better Bus Services group, (BBS)  identified that reading transport timetables were especially difficult to understand. Following this feedback, www.easytraveling.org.uk simplifies travel information on the internet by using easy read after being co-designed by people with learning disabilities.  More >   

10th April 2014: Learning Library lands £130,000 to serve north Durham
The Learning Library, which is based in Spennymoor, County Durham, loans specialist items to people with learning difficulties and disabilities, and is celebrating a lottery windfall that will secure the future of its service in north Durham. The grant will enable the charity to run its office in Church Lane, Durham City, along with a vehicle, two part time outreach workers and an administration assistant.  More >

8th April 2014: New guide launched to help adults with learning disabilities find employment
Families sometimes do not know how to go about helping their family member with learning disabilities into paid work. This guide, produced by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities and the National Valuing Families Forum, offers valuable information to help families think about what they can do to support their family member.  More >
8th April 2014: UK’s first ever autism social networking site
Autism West Midlands has launched the UK’s first ever autism social networking site, Connect. Through features such as profile building, status updates and private messaging, Connect offers members of the autism community a chance to interact, unite and ultimately realise that they are not alone in their experiences.  

More >  

8th April 2014:
Assessment and funding delays preventing hospital discharges

Research by psychiatric staff at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust identified problems in the NHS continuing healthcare process that were leading to delayed discharges from inpatient units. The study, which follows the government’s push to move people out of inappropriate hospital placements and into the community following the Winterbourne View scandal, examined the causes of delayed discharges in a 16-bed in-patient unit for people with learning disabilities. More >   

7th April 2014: Police and health staff team up in new Street Triage scheme
A new scheme is being launched to provide better care for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities in emergency situations. The Street Triage scheme will see specially-trained mental health nurses from Nottinghamshire Healthcare join police officers on callouts throughout Nottinghamshire. This will mean that vulnerable individuals will be steered away from the criminal justice system, into a more appropriate care setting such as community mental health treatment services and learning disability support.  More >

NHS England announce the test launch of the Liaison and Diversion scheme - mental health teams in police stations and courts in ten areas goes live this week >

7th April 2014:
Skills for Care and National Skills Academy announce merger
England’s adult social care workforce development agencies, Skills for Care and the National Skills Academy for Social Care, are to merge next month. Although contracts have yet to be signed, the two organisations announced today that they intend to combine by the end of May this year. The Department of Health welcomed the move, which it said would help to support the reforms set out in the Care Bill.  More >   

7th April 2014:
Information from IHaL: supporting health checks, and autism self assessment
A new report from the Improving Health and Lives Observatory signposts people to a number of resources that can help improve the uptake and quality of health checks by making reasonable adjustments. There is clear evidence that health checks detect unmet health need and lead to actions to address these needs, but half of all people with learning disabilities eligible for a health check are still not getting them. More >

The Observatory have also produced fact sheets about: what helps health checks work better, are health checks helpful, and can health checks help people with behaviour that challenges, download them here >

The Autism Self-Assessment Exercise 2013 aimed to assist local authorities and their partners in assessing progress in implementing the 2010 Adult Autism Strategy. The initial findings and the personal stories have now been published on IHaL's Autism SAF project page >

3 April 2014: Government launch 'Positive and Proactive Care'
Following increasing concerns about the inappropriate use of restrictive interventions across health and care settings; including ‘Transforming Care: a national response to Winterbourne View Hospital’ (DH 2012), ‘Mental Health Crisis Care: physical restraint in crisis’ (Mind 2013), and a recent inspection of inpatient learning disability services by the Care Quality Commission the Department of Health today launched new guidance about reducing restrictive interventions.



3 April: Skills for Care launch 'A Positive and Proactive Workforce'

Launched with the new DH guidance, Skills for Care and Skills for Health have co-produce guidance on commissioning or delivering workforce development for adult social care workers and health workers in England.   Find out more, download the guidance >

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