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Cheshire health trust calls on communities to be more learning disability friendly

'Urgent need' to improve support outside of hospital, according to clinical director

Learning disabilities staff at the Cheshire and Wirral NHS Trust reached the final of regional NHS awards

An NHS trust is calling on communities to be more learning disability and autism friendly.

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), based on the Countess of Chester health park, is rated ‘outstanding’ for services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Around 21,000 people are said to have learning disabilities in the Cheshire and Wirral area, almost 2% of the population.

Improve understanding

This year’s annual Learning Disability Week targeted ‘friendships and relationships’, aiming to build community understanding of the everyday challenges people with learning disabilities and/or autism face.

CWP clinical director Dr Mahesh Odiyoor said: “There is a big difference between learning ‘difficulties’ and learning ‘disabilities’ which are often confused.

“A learning disability affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate, it affects everyday life for the person and their family.”

He continued: “Some people can have multiple conditions such as epilepsy, other physical health problems, autism, and other developmental and mental health problems.

“There is an urgent need to enhance support outside of hospital to enable people to live more independently at home.

“We know everyone is unique and need different levels of support at different times of their life.

“By working together with other health and social care organisations, our aim is to provide people with a choice of person-centred services in the community to meet individuals’ and their families’ specific needs.”

Andy Styring, director of operations, added: “ CWP is committed to developing improved services with local people who access services, their families and carers and will play a key role in delivering new models of care and support.”

The trust has been rated as outstanding overall for services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, as well as outstanding for being caring and responsive, by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It provides learning disability services in Cheshire, Wirral and Trafford as well as mental health services in Cheshire and Wirral amongst other activities and employs a total of 3,400 staff.

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