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"Remarkable progress" for citizens with learning disability, says NHS report - 15.12.09

A joint Sutton Council and NHS programme is challenging national thinking on services for people with learning disabilities. That's the verdict of a new report by NHS London after a recent inspection of services in Sutton.

The NHS London Assurance team praised the reprovision programme for Orchard Hill Hospital, the UK's last long-stay hospital for adults with learning disabilities. Sutton and Merton Councils are working with Sutton and Merton NHS to move all Orchard Hill residents into new and improved supported living homes.

The report found that citizens with severe learning disabilities who had already moved into new homes were making "remarkable progress." It said "the prevailing wisdom of moving people slowly and expecting slow changes over a long period of time has been turned on its head with people having lived institutional lives now making rapid progress beyond expectations."

The University of Chester is currently monitoring the programme and NHS inspectors believe the findings "will have extraordinary significance for national learning disabilities strategies."

Inspectors found that Sutton was the first council in England to employ and deliver a full specialist health service in this area. It includes clinical psychology, speech and language therapy, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational and creative therapies.

Cllr Colin Stears, Executive Member for Adult Social Services and Housing on Sutton Council, said:

"This is a hugely encouraging verdict on the state of services for citizens with learning disabilities in Sutton.

"While I'm hugely proud that we are pioneering a new national approach, what pleases me most is the real change we are making to the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.

"We are providing a seamless health and social care service for citizens with learning disabilities that provides them with quality homes and the support they and their families need to live as independently as possible."

Last updated: Tuesday, 15 December 2009

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