Pledges across LLR to tackle health equity for autistic people and people with learning disabilities

Posted by: Jamie Sharp - Posted on:

Around 70 people working at local football clubs, cafes, care providers and elsewhere across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) have committed to make physical health services more equitable, for autistic people and people with learning disabilities by becoming Health Equity Champions. As part of their role, the new Health Equity Champions, including representatives from Leicester Tigers, have pledged to provide more inclusive and accessible information, review recruitment processes and look to empower policy changes.

The Champions were recruited at the LLR Learning Disability and Autism (LDA) Collaborative’s recent first health equity event to address the stark differences between the health outcomes for the population as a whole and people with a learning disability and autistic people. Statistics show that people with a learning disability have 20 years’ shorter life expectancy.

Highlighted at the event were available resources, processes and facilities within LLR, which help providers and support organisations better understand current challenges and how to address them.

Also featured at the event was ground-breaking work which is already in progress, including:

  • the ambitious Decode Research Programme – led, in partnership, by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) and Loughborough University – which improves the understanding of the health needs of people with a learning disability. The programme’s remarkable findings will be published later this year.
  • the LeDeR programme and its findings from research, learning about the lives and deaths of local people with a learning disability.
  • how to make reasonable adjustments to ensure everyone has good access to health and care, including projects and developments in the transport sector with local, national and international organisations and how these could be transferred locally.
  • how an expert by experience has helped to create better sensory-friendly environments in LPT’s inpatient mental health units.
  • how all employers should take the opportunity to see the value that people with a learning disability and autistic people can bring to their workforce, highlighted by WMH Work Connections. The presentation featured a person with lived experience who shared their experience of working as a horticultural assistant at a nursery and how they have been able to move out of their parent’s home and buy their own shared ownership property.
  • the importance of annual health checks for people with a learning disability, and how to engage with individuals who may require additional reasonable adjustments during their healthcare appointments.
  • ensuring that nutrition and hydration support is meaningful as people with learning disabilities and autistic people are more likely to have nutritionally related health problems than the general population.
  • the wide range of support offered by Social Prescribers for people with a learning disability and autistic people, including ‘Green Social Prescribing’ and volunteering and job opportunities.

The Health Equity Champions have four meetings set up for later this year to establish the network, create a safe space to share ideas, give feedback and most importantly influence decisions within LLR that affect autistic people and people with learning disabilities.

If your organisation is interested in making a pledge to become a Health Equity Champion within LLR, please contact Rebecca Eccles.