Patients with complex learning disabilities require a specialist commissioning body to ensure their needs are met, Dr Clare Royston has told the Health and Social Care Bill Committee.

Dr Royston, medical director at independent service provider Care Principles, highlighted three patient groups – offenders with a learning disability, offenders with a learning disability and a personality disorder, and people with a complex autism diagnosis – and said the proposed Health and Social Care Bill must protect their interests and ensure appropriate and cost-effective clinical and care pathways. One area of concern for Dr Royston is in the move to GP consortia commissioning services for patients.

Currently, 46% of adults with a learning disability detained under the Mental Health Act receive their care from the private sector. Dr Royston believes that it is important this expertise is not lost, as doctors may not be familiar with the services available.

She said: “Due to the relatively low number of vulnerable learning disabled patients, GP’s are likely to have limited experience of commissioning services. There is a need for a specialist commissioning body advised by appropriate psychiatrists to be significantly involved in commissioning for these patient groups to ensure they receive the appropriate assessment and treatment which addresses their individual needs.”

Dr Royston believes that a specialist commissioning body would bring together those responsible for commissioning services and those charged with service delivery.