Public Health England and VODG (the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group), have launched the updated Health Charter for social care providers who support people with a learning disability. The Charter was developed with people with learning disabilities and their families to support providers to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities.
People with learning disabilities have worse health that the general population. The Confidential Inquiry into Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities found on average men die 13 years earlier and women 20 years earlier that the general population. 42% of the deaths considered were premature.
Much can be done by social care providers, working together with people with learning disabilities, family carers and their health colleagues to improve the situation. Differences in health status are to an extent avoidable, and as such represent health inequalities.
In response VODG, National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTI) and sector stakeholders developed the health charter to support providers to improve the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities with the aim of reducing inequalities in health and social care.
The health charter provides key principles and guidance to improve the health and well-being of people with learning disabilities, and therefore improve people’s quality of life. It is aimed at adult social care providers and staff, who have an important role in helping people access good healthcare and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse at Public Health England, said:
“The Social Health Charter has been developed for adult social care providers and staff who have an important role in helping people access good healthcare and lead a healthy lifestyle. It is intended to raise awareness of the health inequalities that exist for people with a learning disability and act as a tool to enable staff to improve support given to enable people to embed healthy lifestyle. The Charter supports staff to increase access to and uptake of healthchecks and screening programmes. By getting even more organisations signed up to the Charter, we have the chance to reduce the health and wellbeing gap for people with a learning disability and thereby reduce the number of avoidable early deaths.”
Social care providers can sign up to the Health Charter on the VODG website: https://www.vodg.org.uk/campaigns/learning-disability-providers-challenged-to-tackle-health-inequalities/ , over 140 providers are already signed up.
This updated version of the Charter includes information on Stopping Overmedication of People with Learning Disabilities (STOMP) https://www.england.nhs.uk/learning-disabilities/stomp/.