Monday, 3 September 2012

Eligibility for statutory learning disability services in the north-west of England. Right or luxury? Findings from a pilot study

an article by Erica E McInnis (NHS Manchester, Manchester Community Health, Manchester City Council), Alan Hills (Pennine Care (Stockport), Community Learning Disability Team) and Melanie J Chapman (Manchester Learning Disability Partnership) published in British Journal of Learning Disabilities Volume 40 Issue 3 (September 2012)

Accessible summary
  • There are often rules about who can use learning disability services.
  • We used a questionnaire to ask clinical psychologists in the north-west of England about the rules where they work. We also asked them what psychologists do when it comes to deciding about who can use learning disability services.
  • We found out that different places had some things in common in how they defined learning disabilities and how they decided who used services. However, there were also differences between different places.
  • Differences between different areas can make it difficult for people with learning disabilities if they move.

Access to learning disability services in England is often governed by eligibility criteria. A semistructured questionnaire was completed by clinical psychologists in the north-west of England about service eligibility criteria and psychologists’ role within the referral process to learning disability services.

The survey highlighted both variations and similarities across the region in terms of definitions of learning disabilities, eligibility for accessing local services and the psychometric measures used to assess functioning.

Differences in how services assess eligibility can lead to difficulties, for example when people move area. The use of standard eligibility criteria could be one means of overcoming this.

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