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The Transforming Care programme has already had an impact in helping people with learning difficulties lead better, more rewarding lives. 

Involving five key areas, with six organisations working together to deliver the improvements, advances have recently been outlined by the programme director (Learning Disability) at NHS England Fiona Clarke, who also offered an insight into the next critical steps.

Road map

A “road map” will be developed showing how different elements of the initiative will impact on each other and when key changes are likely to happen, including deliverables in 2016/17 through to 2020/2021. 

Further updates will be provided in the coming months including details of progress on the National Transformation Plan and a New Service Model. 

Work is continuing in the five areas, or elements, of the Transforming Care programme of: giving people with learning disabilities and/or autism, and their families, more choice and say in their care; ensuring the best care is delivered now whilst re-designing services for the future, with care moving into the community and closer to home; regulation and inspection; developing the skills and capability of the workforce; and making sure the right data and information is available at the right time and continuing to track and report progress.

New Service Model

With a person-centred approach, the New Service Model looks at whether the individual has: a good and meaningful everyday life; their care and support is person-centred, planned, proactive and coordinated; they have choice and control over how their health and care needs are met; family and paid support and care staff get the help they need to support them to live in the community; there is a choice about where they live and who they live with; individuals get good care and support from mainstream health services and can access specialist health and social care support in the community; they will be supported to stay out of trouble; and if a person is admitted to hospital the care provided is of high-quality and the stay is no longer than it needs to be.

Shift from in-patient care

The National Transformation Plan is underpinned by a cultural shift away from in-patient reliance, toward improved community capacity and collaboration with the voluntary sector. That will see hospital bed numbers for people with learning disabilities halved over the next three years, with local councils and NHS bodies joining together to deliver more co-ordinated services via 49 new local Transforming Care Partnerships working on implementation plans and designing and commissioning bespoke services that meet the needs of people in their area.

Transforming Care Progress

The Cross System Transforming Care Programme comes out of Sir Stephen Bubb’s 2014 independent review into the future care of people with learning disabilities, following serious failings identified in Winterbourne View in 2011. 

The six organisations in the programme – NHS England, Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Care Quality Commission, Health Education England and the Department of Health – say progress has already been made. In particular, this is in areas of public consultation on strengthening individual rights, testing service redesign and more robust ways of collecting and sharing data. They are also seeing progress in developing care reviews to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions with a new approach to inspecting health and social care services across England.

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