Camden Learning Disability Service wins prestigious national award

The Camden Learning Disability Service (CLDS) has won a Royal College of Psychiatrists award, recognising their outstanding commitment to community based support for people with learning disabilities and their families. 
The service, which is an integrated venture between the London Borough of Camden, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and the Whittington Health NHS Trust, was awarded ‘Team of the Year 2020: Intellectual Disability’ at a virtual ceremony on 19 November 2020.  This recognises the pivotal role that integrated teams play in improving and innovating support in intellectual disability, enabling people with a learning disability to live fulfilling lives as active members of their local communities.
The team is made up of nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, physiotherapists, social workers, specialist support workers, speech and language therapists and trainees in all those professions. 
Having achieved one of the highest rates of health checks for people with learning disabilities in England through active engagement with primary care, the team supports a person-centred model of care. This is demonstrated by a significant and sustained decrease in rates of admission to mental health hospitals,  increased home-based treatment, promotion of community inclusion and increased access to local health and care services. The team also places great emphasis on education and training of other professionals and care staff.
The team is keen to continue improving its service, so has been working hard on two multidisciplinary quality improvement projects aimed at enhancing their response to two priority areas in the health and wellbeing of adults with intellectual disabilities. This includes a project addressing both the needs of people with Down syndrome who are most vulnerable to early dementia and of older adults with intellectual disabilities if referred with signs of memory difficulties.
Professor Angela Hassiotis, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, said: “We’re delighted to have won this award and we feel it is testament to all the work we’ve carried out across all our professions to support our service users, including reducing the number of acute admissions to our inpatient beds by 85% over the past five years. This has been done by working intensively with people at risk of admission to prevent admissions, enhancing our community support offer for people with learning disabilities and advocating their best interests.”
Dr Vincent Kirchner, Medical Director at C&I, said: “We’re so pleased to have received this prestigious recognition for the collaborative work that is going on to support our service users with learning disabilities and their families. As a Trust, we’re committed to delivering positive outcomes for patients, and I’d like to congratulate the whole team for all their hard work despite all the challenges 2020 has brought.”
Cllr Pat Callaghan, Cabinet Member for a Healthy and Caring Camden said: “Winning this award is fantastic news and I’m very proud of all the whole team for this achievement. Their work is tailored to the needs of the individuals they work with and is also co-produced with people with learning disabilities and their families. This approach has meant fewer people with a learning disability have had to be admitted to a mental health hospital and are instead being supported successfully to thrive and be a part of their local communities.”

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