There have been two investigatory inquiries undertaken over the last year in relation to healthcare for people with learning disabilities by Sir Jonathan Michael and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The reports, Healthcare for All and Six Lives reported failings in health and social care services.

In Six Lives, the Ombudsman recommended that all NHS and social care organisations in England should review urgently:

  • the effectiveness of the systems they have place to enable them to understand and plan to meet the full range of needs of people with learning disabilities in their area; and
  • the capacity and capability of the services to provide and/or commission for their local populations to meet the additional and often complex needs of people with learning disabilities.

The Ombudsman recommended that the reviews should be reported to those responsible for the governance of those organisations by March 2010. The Department of Health has encouraged all NHS organisations to ensure the reviews recommended by the Ombudsman are completed by March this year. A copy of his letter can be found here. A suggested structure for reporting on the progress against the Ombudsman’s recommendation using the self assessment framework is also attached to the letter to assist NHS organisations.

The information that will be provided by the NHS organisations will be reviewed by the Department of Health which expects to publish a progress report in the autumn of this year.