An update on iHAL

Changing Our Lives is one of four organisations that forms the membership of the Advisory Group to Improving Health and Lives (IHaL), the part of Public Health England that focusses on the health of people with a learning disability. The Advisory group met in Leeds on February 6th, and although on this occasion it was a small group, there was a packed and lively agenda. Anna Marriott and Gyles Glover (IHaL) gave some general updates, which included the future of IHAL. They confirmed that the funding of IHAL is secure for one more year and possibly one year after that. This will be known in summer 2017.

Gyles updated the group about the GP Extraction System Learning Disability Project he is leading which is pulling out data about the health of people with a learning disability. This data is being analysed and giving us a much more detailed picture about the health of people with a learning disability. The first report reflected the findings from data collected from April 2014 and March 2015 and was discussed by the group at a meeting last year. More recent data will be pulled out this year for 2015/16 and 2016/17 and reports will be written about the findings.

Gyles demonstrated to the group the website where this information is stored and can be viewed by the public. The information is presented in an interactive map that can be used to show data from each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area in England and to compare the health of the general population and people with learning disabilities both across the country and between CCG areas.
You can find the interactive tool by clicking on the following link and then clicking on

The group discussed with Gyles how this information can be shared with people in a useful way as the level of detail in the main reports and on the website is complex and to interpret. The group was keen that there should be a guide that helped people to navigate the website and that gave some level of direction to significant statistics.

The group received an update on progress with the revised Learning Disability Health & Social Care Self-Assessment Framework. Implementation has been delayed but the revised version will be ready to roll out to Local Authorities and CCGs this summer. The strong feedback from the last year of implementation was that there needed to be a different mechanism for people with a learning disability and family carers to feed in their experiences of services and support, as unlike previous years, time and financial constraints had reduced the ability of local areas to capture this through events. The revised version will include a survey which can be completed by people with a learning disability and family carers and will be administered and returned to local authorities, who will analyse the results and include in their assessment of the local area.

Anna gave a progress report regarding the Learning Disability Mortality Review, which is now being rolled out in each NHS area. The programme is making better progress now that each area has a coordinator to steer the work.  Other updates included feedback from the last IHAL Steering Group and the success of using webinars to share key work from IHaL.

After lunch, David Harling, the learning disability lead for NHS Improvement attended the meeting, to inform the group about his new job role and what it entails. NHS Improvement is responsible for overseeing foundation trusts and NHS trusts, as well as independent providers that provide NHS-funded care. They offer the support these providers need to give patients consistently safe, high quality, compassionate care within local health systems that are financially sustainable. By holding providers to account and, where necessary, intervening, they help the NHS to meet its short-term challenges and secure its future. David explained that for learning disability this has translated into the development of a set Provider Improvement Standards to help providers of NHS services to improve the services they offer. In addition, he is developing a Learning Disability Improvement Exchange which will be a web-based part of the NHS Improvement website and will be a place where good practice can be promoted and shared, professionals can network, events and projects can be advertised and buddying between providers can be supported. David is confident that his role in NHS Improvement can lead to positive change for people with a learning disability and encouraged the group to continue to link with him and use the opportunities it will give.

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