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ICS Learning Summit - Health inequalities, learning disability and autism

Closing the gap: How ICSs can tackle health and care inequalities for people with learning disabilities and autistic people§

Wednesday 17 April 2024 

Autistic people and people with learning disabilities expect and have a right to the same quality of life as every other citizen. That includes their right to mainstream health and care, as well as access to specialist services. 

Autistic people and those with a learning disability often face poor health outcomes. 6 out of 10 will die before the age of 65. And on average they die 20 years younger than the rest of the population. More than half of all autistic people have suffered from depression, and they are more than nine times more likely to consider suicide than the rest of the population.

The establishment of integrated care systems (ICSs) provides an opportunity for greater collaboration between local health and care partners to improve the outcomes for adults, children and young people who have a learning disability, or who are autistic. 

This learning summit focused on how ICSs are designing person-centred support where people with learning disability are put at heart of their care and involved in designing solutions that reflect the needs and aspirations of the individual across the life course.

This learning summit explored how partners within ICSs are coproducing, implementing, and developing their care and support services.

The session was co-chaired by Tom Cahill, National Learning Disability and Autism Director, NHS England and Clive Parry, Director, ARC England. 

Contributors included:

  • Helen Ashford, Operations Manager, Linkage
  • West Midlands Self-Advocacy Network
  • Edel Parsons, Senior Lead Reviewer, LeDeR and Viki Baker, Clinical Director Learning Disability and Neurobehaviour Services, Sussex NHS Partnership Foundation Trust
  • David Holmes, Chairman, Peak 15 Support
  • Paul McCay, Chief Executive, The Wilf Ward Family Trust
  • Hazel Summers, Director of Adult Social Care Improvement - Partners in Care and Health, Local Government Association

The summit was aimed at learning disability and autism leads, commissioners and policymakers in ICBs, local authorities, care providers, NHS services, voluntary and community sector organisations.

Watch a recording§


Resources from the learning summit§

Presentation from Closing the gap: health inequalities, learning disability and autism

Full report to follow shortly.

Videos referenced during the summit

West Midlands Self-Advocacy Network – Good Health, Good Lives

Making services accessible - Reasonable adjustments – NHS Sussex

Useful links

NHS Planning Guidance 2024/2025

Joint guiding principles for integrated care systems – learning disability and autism (Updated October 2023)

Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care’s SEND review (Updated March 2023) (Updated March 2023)

Preventing people with a learning disability from dying too you – Nuffield Trust

All about me hospital passport

West Midlands Self-Advocacy Network

 Related events and webinars

LD Professional Senate Conference Programme: Working Together to Stay Well – London - 7 May 2024

Creativity in Care: A Day of Inspiration and Imagination in Leeds – ARC England - 14th May 2024

Supporting people with learning disabilities and staff teams during loss and bereavement: Interactive online workshop – ARC England - 15 May 2024