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Friday 11 June 2021

UCLan to support project to tackle health inequalities for people with learning disabilities

University selected by NHS England to collaborate on national programme

A new collaboration that will see the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) team up with King’s College London (KCL) to support the NHS tackle health inequalities for people with learning disabilities and autistic people has been announced by NHS England.

The £1.75 million project will see UCLan, KCL, Kingston and St George’s University of London, and London South Bank University work closely with the voluntary sector and a core group of people with learning disabilities to improve the quality of care they receive in response to research showing that on average, people with a learning disability die earlier than the general public.

Kings College London, who will lead the programme, won the bid along with its partners to take on NHS England’s Learning Disability Mortality Review programme (LeDeR), which reviews deaths of people with learning disabilities, looks at their life and the health and social care services they received.

The partners will look at this information to find areas of learning, opportunities to improve, and examples of excellent practice. This information will then be used to improve services for people living with a learning disability, with an annual report produced for LeDeR from next year.

"We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the universities to develop further this internationally renowned programme"

Umesh Chauhan, Professor in Primary Care Medicine at UCLan

UCLan will lead on producing research digests and participate in research deep dives. Professor Umesh Chauhan, Professor in Primary Care Medicine at UCLan, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as one of three universities to develop further this internationally renowned programme. We have a strong track record of working collaboratively with health and social care partners across the North West and we will continue to do so as we bring our expertise in quality improvement and addressing health inequality to this programme.”

At the heart of the partnership is an expert core group of six people with learning disabilities whose role includes identifying areas that need further attention, harnessing the views of other people with learning disabilities on pertinent issues, contributing to the identification of recommendations, and communicating the LeDeR findings to a wider audience including people with learning disabilities.

Professor Chauhan added: “LeDeR is a hugely important programme and this collaboration includes partners who have a wide range of academic and quality improvement skills. People with learning disabilities bring a unique perspective to that mix and well will be working closely with self-advocacy groups across the North West through Pathways Associates.”

The partnership includes Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast.