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Pioneering work on show at national health conference

06 Sep 22

A pioneering method of helping to support people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) devised by experts at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) will be showcased at a leading national conference this month.

The process – or pathway to which it is referred - is used by HPFT for people with learning disabilities to improve screening, diagnosis and clinical interventions. It has been co-produced with experts by experience and NHS partners with an easy-read version created for service users.

A poster devised by the Trust team of Sophia Mody, Dr Indermeet Sawhney, Dr Catherine Dakin, Hitesh Raval, and the wider Essex Learning Disability Partnership team – which includes Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT) and Essex County Council - sets out how the pathway is used.

This will be included on the event app for the Health Service Journal Patient Safety Congress in Manchester on September 15 and 16.

People with learning disabilities are more likely to have neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) such as autism and/or ADHD than the general population. However, they are frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed which may mean they do not get the necessary and appropriate support.

The Trust recognised that diagnoses for local service users with LD was below nationally published levels. To tackle the issue and ensure people with learning disabilities are properly supported, they developed the new pathway and screening tool which has increased diagnosis by 66 per cent and can potentially deliver widescale improvements in care for people with learning disabilities.

Dr Sawhney, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director Learning Disability Services, said: “We are delighted that this work will be on display to a wide audience of health professionals and NHS leaders at the congress next month.

“The pathway has had a significant impact, ensuring people with learning disabilities receive accurate diagnosis of NDD and improving outcomes for people who may have been undiagnosed for many years. A diagnosis of NDD enables more targeted and effective health and care support, with potential wider social benefits as a result, including access to extra support in education and employment.”

In July, HPFT’s work to introduce reasonable adjustments at Mental Health Tribunal hearings was also shortlisted for the HSJ Patient Safety Awards Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year category.  The winner of this will also be announced at an awards ceremony on 15 September  in Manchester.


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