There are approximately 1.5 million people have a learning disability in the UK. About 350,000 people have a severe or profound learning disability.
This number will increase in the coming decades. Therefore, it is critical to understand the changing needs of this population.
People with learning disabilities face inequalities in health and social outcomes. We must understand these inequalities and changing needs to prioritise planning and resources.
A needs assessment was initially undertaken in 2014. The outcome of this work is described by Suffolk County Council Adult and Community Services as follows:
“The previous Needs assessment in 2014 was instrumental in informing the co-produced Learning Disabilities Strategy for Suffolk. It has also been used in relation to setting and informing funding bids and service development activity. The assessment is vital for informing Social Care and Health sector organisations on the opportunities and challenges facing individuals with Learning disabilities now and in the future”.
2021 work assesses the health and social needs of people with learning disabilities. It also assesses the service provision against the national standards. This work was undertaken in Spring/Summer 2021 and consists of the following elements:
• Literature review on prevalence, health and social inequalities and best practice (May 2021).
• Data analysis of prevalence and service use (data between April 2018-March 2021).
• A self-assessment of the service provision against the NICE quality standards. This involved stakeholders
from SCC ACS and Children and Young People (CYP) service leads (July 2021).
• Survey with stakeholders with differing responsibilities. Commissioners & contract managers, service
providers and other professionals. Questions included what is working well, challenges, and areas for improvement (July 2021).
• Online engagement with service users. These activities facilitated by ACE Anglia and led by Public Health and Communities. The experiences captured through the ACE Anglia online health and wellbeing sessions also included. Information from the Suffolk People First event of May-June 2021 is also included.
The scope and purpose of this needs assessment agreed by the Steering Group. This consists of representatives from multi-agencies and departments.
This needs assessment triangulates all available information from these exercises at the time. The main findings and recommendations presented in the report that can be viewed/downloaded below.