Changing Our Lives, a West Midlands based self-advocacy organisation working with people with disabilities, is holding a Quality of Health Conference at the Midlands Arts Centre (mac birmingham).
Over recent years, the deaths of people with learning disabilities in health services has been bought to public attention in reports such as Mencap’s “Death by Indifference: 74 and Counting”. Similarly, the Department of Health’s recent report into the abuse of people with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View highlights the need for better commissioning and monitoring of health services, and stresses the importance of user led auditing as one way the quality of services can be checked.
On 19th October Changing Our Lives, a West Midlands based self-advocacy organisation working with people with disabilities, is holding a Quality of Health Conference at the Midlands Arts Centre. The conference will showcase the Quality of Health Principles; a set of best practice standards that have been developed by people with learning disabilities in partnership with their peers with physical and sensory disabilities, people on the autistic spectrum, people with mental health issues and older people. The Principles tell health providers and commissioners what people who are ‘vulnerable’ expect in terms of person centred healthcare. This conference demonstrates the power of user led audits and the positive impact these have on the health experiences of people with learning disabilities.
The Principles have been used by people with learning disabilities as the basis for audits of health services including a general hospital, mental health services, GP practices, pharmacies and dentists. This conference highlights the positive changes that have taken place in these healthcare services for people with learning disabilities as a result of the audits.
Sir David Nicholson, CEO of the NHS for England has been supporting this work and has made a commitment to embed the Quality of Health Principles into NHS contracts. Sir David Nicholson said of the Principles: “It is critical that we design services that integrate around individual need if we are to get the best outcomes for our patients. The Quality of Health Principles have been developed and audited by people with disabilities themselves, which means we have a set of practical guidelines that clearly set out how people want to be treated and involved in their care.”
The conference is being attended by key senior figures from health and social care from across the West Midlands. Andrea Pope-Smith, Director of Adult Services (ADASS), Communities and Housing in Dudley MBC and national learning disability lead for the Association of Directors of Adult Services has made a commitment to ensure that any actions from the conference are monitored via ADASS to ensure improvements in the healthcare of people with learning disabilities.
For more information about the work of Changing Our Lives see the website www.changingourlives.org