Strategy helps people with learning disabilities

North Yorkshire is celebrating learning disabilities week with the launch of its Live Well Live Longer strategy.

People with learning disabilities in North Yorkshire.

The strategy is committed to giving people with learning disabilities in the county greater choice and control over important life decisions, and sets out how it will go about delivering this ambition.

It is the result of a consultation exercise to find out what people with learning disabilities living in North Yorkshire want and represents a partnership between North Yorkshire County Council, the NHS and learning disability groups.

"Our vision for this important strategy is that people with a learning disability should have the opportunity to live long and healthy lives" said County Councillor Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration.

"They should be supported to exercise choice in their daily lives, feel happy, safe and supported, be active and fulfil their potential, enjoy the best health and wellbeing possible, and be respected and treated with dignity".

The strategy has been launched by the North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Board (which provides strategic leadership and encourages integrated working between health & social care) to coincide with national charity Mencap's learning disabilities week (June 19-25). The theme nationally this year is raising awareness of the benefits of employing people with learning disabilities and improving their employment opportunities.

Over the next five years, North Yorkshire's strategy will give people with learning disabilities the tools and support to enjoy longer, healthier and more independent live. This includes ensuring they can:

  • have more choice and control over decisions;
  • access better health care;
  • play an active role in their local community;
  • live in a home they can call their own;
  • have support for their carers; and
  • prepare for adult life.

The Health and Wellbeing Board is now working with the county's Learning Disability Partnership Board (which represents people with a learning disability in North Yorkshire) and the Learning Disability Provider Forum (which represents organisations who provide services to people with a learning disability) to produce an action plan to deliver the strategy's key commitments.

Cllr Harrison added: "This year's learning disability week focuses on raising awareness of the fact employment opportunities for those with a learning disability are very limited and that this issue must be addressed.

"This reflects one of our key commitments - to help people with a learning disability to find rewarding, paid employment. Our other important commitments are to help them address their health problems, and to feel safe within their community. Above all, we want to celebrate the contribution that people with a learning disability make to society".

Simon Cox, chief executive officer of Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group and a member of the health and wellbeing board said: "Members of the board are committed to improving services for people with a learning disability, and we will work closely together to use our resources, skills and budgets as effectively as possible to deliver this ambition".

Live Well, Live Longer also looks at how to provide support people who care for a person with a learning disability: letting them choose how and when they can have a break: and ultimately have some peace of mind about the future when they are no longer able to care for their loved one.

The strategy can be downloaded here.

This story was published 12 June 2017