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Healthwatch win award for work with people with learning disabilities

Politics / Sat 12th Dec 2015 at 12:29pm

Healthwatch EssexHEALTHWATCH Essex wins Royal Society for Public Health award for its work with people with learning disabilities

Healthwatch Essex has been awarded a coveted Health and Wellbeing Award from the Royal Society for Public Health for its work to gather and highlight the lived experience of people with learning disabilities (LD) in Essex, as well as increase the number of people with LD having health checks with their GP.

This work is in response to the Confidential Inquiry into Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities (CIPOLD), which reviewed the deaths of 247 people with learning disabilities over a two year period (2010–2012).The report found that women with learning disabilities died 20 years sooner than women in the general population and men with learning disabilities died, on average, 13 years sooner than men in the general population.

Healthwatch Essex recruited a team of Ambassadors with learning disabilities to find out from them about the barriers they might face to having health checks with their GP, which are an important indicator of current and future health conditions. These Ambassadors have also been tasked with talking to their friends and peers with learning disabilities about the importance of having their health checks.

The Royal Society of Public Health commended the organisation’s “innovative and creative engagement strategy which is based in the lived experiences of people with learning disability in Essex. The level of engagement and emerging outcomes are impressive. Healthwatch Essex has successfully demonstrated a meaningful impact into the lives of people with learning disabilities.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Society for Public Health, Shirley Cramer, said: “The RSPH has a long history of promoting good practice in public health and we are proud of our Health and Wellbeing Awards which provide a stage to celebrate the great work of organisation’s across the country regardless of their sector, size and setting. It was an extremely competitive field this year and I would like to congratulate our 2015 winners who are all exemplars of innovative, progressive programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. I hope that their effective programmes will be adopted and celebrated elsewhere.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Healthwatch Essex, Dr Tom Nutt, said “We’re delighted that our work to capture the lived experience of, and improve services for, people with learning disabilities in Essex has been nationally recognised.

The support we’ll receive from the Royal Society of Public Health will be invaluable in taking the project to the next level, which includes continuing to raise the number of people with LD taking their annual health checks, and highlighting other issues in response to the CIPOLD report.

In welcoming this award, we also recognise the great effort of our colleagues and partners – not least Ian Ross and others at NHS England, other NHS commissioner and provider organisations, and countless voluntary-sector and support groups, in helping to raise awareness and make improvements in Essex.”

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