Updated estimates for social care services for people with learning disabilities suggest sustained growth in need

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This update from the improving health and lives public health observatory updates previous work from 2008, where estimates of future need for services for people with learning disabilities were made.

The current report estimates the need for adult social care support for people with learning disabilities in England for the period 2009-2026.

The new model suggests sustained growth in the need for social care services with average annual increases varying from 1.2% to 5.1% (average 3.2%).

Other key points emerging from the report are:

  • approximately 25% of new entrants to adult social care with learning disabilities will belong to minority ethnic communities
  • approximately one in three of new entrants will come from a home in which the child is eligible for Free School Meals
  • by 2030 the number of adults aged 70+ using social care services for people with learning disabilities will more than double.

The authors also point out that their report estimates changes in need rather than in demand. They point out that changes in demand will vary according to a number of factors.


Estimating Future Need for Social Care among Adults with Learning Disabilities in England: An Update Emerson E Chris Hatton C,  Improving Health and Lives, 2011

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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