Services for adults with learning disabilities have been given a £2.3million boost, which has been made available from central government funding, to provide specialist health services for people with a learning disability.

The newly created South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust will run the centre and planning for the project has been a very intense process involving staff, users, carers and design teams. It is anticipated that work will begin in the early autumn within the grounds of Fieldhead, Ouchthorpe Lane, Wakefield.

The new centre is part of a whole systems approach to the care of people with a learning disability and it is hoped that the range of services provided will meet the specialist health needs of people with a learning disability, thereby making is possible for them to achieve an optimum level of independence and to remain in their own homes.

Currently, assessment and treatment for adults with learning disabilities is, whenever possible carried out in the community. However, there will be times when admission to an inpatient bed for assessment and treatment is unavoidable and so the new building will contain six beds for this purpose. In order to avoid unnecessary admissions to an inpatient bed, and to facilitate early discharge back home, an outreach service will work closely with inpatient staff and those working in the community as well as clients and their carers.

As well as providing inpatient assessment and treatment services, a specialist therapies unit will host a comprehensive range of therapeutic activities that require specialist or specialised equipment. These facilities will include a snoezelen room, sensory integration room, assessment kitchen, assessment bathroom, horticulture and an activities room.

There will also be a clinical resource centre, incorporating office space and support services for the centre. This will ensure that medical, psychological, specialist therapy, nursing and associated support staff will work alongside each other within the new development. This will enhance the way staff are able to work together, thus improving the co-ordination of care and the provision of specialist advice and support.

Kathryn Hornby, associate director of mental health for the Trust, said, ‘The development of this significant service reflects the increasing priority people with a Learning Disability have in this district, and is a positive move in continuing the partnership arrangements for service provision’.


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