Review will lead to new learning difficulties guidance on services


The government has commissioned a review of services for severely disabled adults with learning difficulties.

The review of services for people with “profound and multiple intellectual disabilities”, commissioned by the Department of Health, will be carried out by Professor Jim Mansell.

Mansell is director of the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent and a well-known academic, consultant and government adviser on learning difficulties and social care.

His review will form the basis for new guidance for local authorities and the NHS, to be issued next year.

He will be assisted by The Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) Network, which includes families, professionals and voluntary organisations.

Mansell said: “There are thought to be about 16,000 adults with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities in England. They are among the most disabled people in our society.

“The government recognises that services and support for these people and their families are not improving fast enough. My review will look at what needs to be done.”

Beverley Dawkins, Mencap’s national officer for PMLD and chair of the network, welcomed the announcement and the government’s recognition that services needed to improve.

She said: “People with profound and multiple learning disabilities are among the most excluded and disadvantaged people in today’s society and all too often their needs are ignored.”

Anne Williams, national director for learning disabilities, said: “We are committed to making sure that the benefits of Valuing People Now [the government’s learning difficulties strategy]are experienced by those with the most complex needs.

“Professor Mansell’s work will set out what needs to be done to provide good quality services.”

5 October 2009