Improving support, access and lives

Improving support, access and lives

  • 16 February 2017
  • Posted in: Healthcare

Services need to build the right support to effect change and make a difference at an individual level, delegates attending the Improving Lives: Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities conference were told. The agenda explored how to best support people with learning disabilities to meet to their aspirations.

Fiona McMillan-Shields, Head of Transformation Delivery at NHS England’s Learning Disabilities Programme, told the audience that services need to change their culture and to strive to be ambitious so that people with learning disabilities can have equality of access to care, services and support. McMillan-Shields said that it was not just the responsibility of the health and social care sector but, with areas such as employment and housing so important, it was everyone’s business to improve support.

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A key aim of the NHS England programmes of care is to ensure that people are getting their care needs meet in the community and not in hospitals. McMillan-Shields did not deny that transformation of care could result in reductions in beds but stressed that the programme was about more than taking care into the community.

“It’s not about bed closures. It’s about better access, better services and better lives for people.”

Julie Pointer, Preparing for Adulthood Programme Manager at the National Development Team for Inclusion, said that services need to look at how to encourage more robust ways of working together to support people and their families in the most positive way. Pointer said that she had been encouraged by the take up of integrating commissioning and personal budgets highlighting how many services were increasingly looking at age ranges from 0-25 to improve transition out of children’s services and into adult services.

Julie Pointer 7“People don’t want to transfer to a service – they want to transfer to a life.”

Pointer said a range of services and providers, from healthcare to education, can offer circles of support and encourage independent living from a young age. Pointer said that the services in place to support other young people and adults should be as inclusive as possible.

The agenda included numerous other expert and impactful speakers which sought to inform and inspire delegates. The audience feedback was highly favourable on what was an engaging and informative day.

Article by Daniel Rankine

Open Forum Events welcomes a continuation of the debate through their online portals and will soon be announcing the next in this series of topical events. Watch out for the details on the forthcoming conference focusing on Learning Difficulties.



  • health
  • Health inequalities
  • transforming health
  • better health outcomes
  • improving lives
  • learning disabilities