Progress on learning disabilities concordat

The BPS is working with the Department of Health to assist in the development of a concordat on learning disabilities. As part of the process, the Department is liaising with a number of key partners in order to draw up the agreement, which has the aim of committing those who sign up to the plan to deliver a model of care for people with such problems, as well as those with autism and behavioural issues.

Described in the Department of Health Review: Winterbourne View Hospital Interim Report, it was noted the concordat will be published in the autumn.

The Society is one of a number of professional bodies working with the government on this issue, in addition to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

Other key partners involved in the process include the National Forum of People with Learning Difficulties and the National Valuing Families Forum.

Dr Peter Banister, president of the British Psychological Society, says:

"The BPS welcomes the recently published "Department of Health Review: Winterbourne View Hospital Interim Report". Despite its name, it is not specifically on Winterbourne View Hospital (this is still subject to ongoing criminal proceedings) but is really a report on the conclusions reached after an inspection of 150 hospitals and care homes for people with learning disabilities, and recommendations for the future. 

"There are many conclusions, the most important of which is a vision for a much greater emphasis on local provision within the community, to ensure better lives for people with learning disabilities and their families. This provision will be focused on personalised care. 

"The Society shares this vision, and is very happy that it has been identified by the Department of Health as a key national partner, and we are looking forward to developing a concordat which will commit us to delivering the right model of care and better outcomes for people with learning disabilities or autism and behaviour which challenges."

A number of people have learning difficulties in every community. Some find it difficult in coming to terms with their lack of understanding so need to be identified. Psychological assessment can provide such identification. Only people who have Psychology training should be allowed to carry out such proceedures as it is a specialized area.

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