Following a successful bid, Surrey Heartlands has been chosen as one of seven areas nationally that will trailblaze improvements and access to care for people with learning disabilities.

People with a learning disability have poorer physical and mental health than other people. Every year, people with a learning disability die sooner than they should. Only 37% of people with a learning disability live beyond 65. For the rest of the population that statistic is 85%.

In Surrey we know that adults with a learning disability have higher rates of obesity and epilepsy, as well as lower levels of screening uptake, compared with the rest of our population. 

Whilst there is already some good work happening across the country, NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched this project to work with seven ‘exemplar’ areas who will develop approaches that drive forward improvements in care, reduce health inequalities and help to put the lives of people with a learning disability firmly on the agenda.

The seven exemplars, one in each region, will trailblaze improvements and access to care. Their focus will include increasing the number of people receiving annual health checks, ensuring health action plans are properly understood and increasing the number of people with a learning disability getting their flu jab.

Surrey Heartlands will receive additional funding of £35,000 as part of the project and will also receive support from a national team, access to a dedicated learning and sharing network, as well as opportunities to share good practice and learn from other areas.

Commenting on the news, Trudy Mills, Director for Children’s and Learning Disability Services at Surrey Heartlands said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the care we provide so we are delighted that we have been successful in our bid to become one of seven exemplar sites across the country.

“It will help us lead the way in driving forward improvements in care for people with learning disabilities in Surrey Heartlands so we are really excited to have been selected.”