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Local GP and Professor to lead national effort to improve learning disability care

Local GP and Professor to lead national effort to improve learning disability care

Pendle GP Dr Umesh Chauhan who is also Professor in Primary Care Medicine at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a partner in a new project to improve the health and wellbeing of people with a learning disability nationally.

NHS England has announced that King’s College London will lead a new £1.75m multi-partner collaboration to support the National Learning Disability and Autism Programme to reduce health inequalities and premature mortality amongst people with a learning disability and autistic people.

On average, people with a learning disability die earlier than the general public, and do not receive the same quality of care as people without a learning disability. Over a period of five years, this collaboration will see the project team, including Dr Chauhan,  investigate data and gain insights into the experience of people with a learning disability for NHS England’s Learning Disability Mortality Review programme (LeDeR) to produce a yearly report, and to make service recommendations to the NHS to affect change, address health inequalities, and improve care and health outcomes.

Professor Chauhan said: “LeDeR is a hugely important programme and this collaboration includes partners who have a wide range of academic and quality improvement skills. People with learning disabilities bring a unique perspective to that mix and we will be working closely with self-advocacy groups across the North West through Pathways Associates. As a local GP I know that this work will contribute towards improvements in the care, health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities in Pennine Lancashire as well as wider afield”.

Dr Mark Dziobon, Burnley GP and Medical Director for the Pennine Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “it is a sad but unfortunate fact that people with a learning disability experience more health problems than people without a learning disability. It’s unfortunately a double whammy for those with a learning disability as we know from the evidence that their care and treatment is often not as good as it could or should be. This important work being led by local GP, Professor Chauhan is another great example of where primary care and GPs in our part of the world are contributing towards improvements to the lives of local residents, in partnership with other sources of expertise, including people with a learning disability themselves”.

At the heart of the partnership is an expert core group of six people with learning disabilities whose role includes identifying areas that need further attention, harnessing the views of other people with learning disabilities on pertinent issues, contributing to the identification of recommendations, and communicating the LeDeR findings to a wider audience including people with learning disabilities.  As well as UCLan, the partnership also includes Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast.