A new service has been launched in Bedfordshire and Luton to help adults with learning disabilities to access mainstream healthcare.

The Health Facilitation Service is a nurse-led service that will work with adults with learning disabilities to enable them to access and receive equitable healthcare from mainstream services. It has been introduced by the local provider of learning disability services, South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT).

The service sees learning disability liaison nurses in Bedford Hospital and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital who will improve the access and experience of people with learning disabilities when using acute services. The acute team will be complemented by primary health facilitators based within the local authority Adult Learning Disability Teams. The health facilitators aim to improve access to primary services including the National Screening Programmes, to promote positive health outcomes for people with learning disabilities.

SEPT’s chief executive, Dr Patrick Geoghegan OBE, said: “This service is going to make great progress in achieving full inclusion of people who have a learning disability in mainstream services. A person who has a learning disability is less likely to receive regular health checks, is less likely to access routine screening and is four times more likely to die from a preventable cause of death. At SEPT we are committed to improving access for this vulnerable group of people.”