Mencap supports new NHS mandate
Tuesday 13 November 2012
The mandate is a “big step forward” in healthcare for people with a learning disability
Setting out the ambitions for the health service for the next two years, it aims for an NHS that is available to all and able to meet patients’ needs and expectations. “Never in its long history has the NHS faced such rapid change in our healthcare needs,” explained Jeremy Hunt. “This mandate is about giving the NHS the right priorities to deal with those challenges. By focusing on what matters to patients, and giving doctors and other professionals the freedom to deliver, we will make sure the NHS stays relevant to our needs and continues providing the best possible care for us all.”
The NHS mandate has five key areas where the government expects the NHS Commissioning Board to make improvements:
- preventing people from dying prematurely
- enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
- helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
- ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
- treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.
People with a learning disability
Through the mandate, the NHS will be measured, for the first time, by how well it achieves the things that really matter to people. Two of its key objectives specifically mention people with a learning disability – to ensure people have a positive experience of care and to prevent people dying prematurely.
Mencap believes these are urgent priorities. Statistics show that people with a learning disability are 58 times more likely to die before the age of 50, and four times as many people with a learning disability die of preventable causes than the general population.
Following its lobbying, with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, against the abuse at the Winterbourne View assessment and treatment unit, Mencap welcomes the objective to ensure that clinical commissioning groups ‘work with local authorities to ensure that vulnerable people, particularly those with learning disabilities and autism, receive safe, appropriate, high quality care’.
“We are particularly delighted that the Department of Health has recognised that, where possible, services are local and that people remain in their communities,” says Emma Harrison, assistant director of external relations at Mencap. “While much still remains to be done to improve health outcomes for people with a learning disability, Mencap feels this is a big step forward.”