The transfer of services for adults, formerly provided by Southern Health, has been carefully managed, with providers and commissioners working closely with people who use services, their families, the wider community of people with learning disabilities and staff to ensure safe and effective continuity of care.
The transfer has been managed by Oxford Health, Southern Health and commissioners – Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), Oxfordshire County Council and NHS England.
The largest transfer is of Community Learning Disability (LD) services, supporting around 670 people with a learning disability aged over 18, their families, friends and carers, as well as other care providers. This has three teams covering the north and south of the county and Oxford city. These are further enhanced by an Intensive Support Team for a small number of people who have additional needs and may be at risk of admission to an inpatient unit.
Staff moving over
Staff already working in Oxfordshire services are moving from Southern Health to Oxford Health. There are no redundancies and people who use the services will continue to work with the staff and teams they know. More staff are being added to strengthen and support services and a new management team at Oxford Health is in place. It is led by LD director Liz Williams, a former specialist psychologist and a professional advisor to the CQC.
Liz has worked across health and social care, with more than 10 years in senior leadership, including at the Department of Health. She is passionate about supporting people with learning disabilities and autism to lead full lives of their choice.
She said ““We are absolutely honoured to be given this opportunity and cannot wait to begin offering these services. We recognise that there have been some very tragic incidents in the recent past and are keen to work with people who use these learning disability services, their families and staff, to further develop them.
Our ambition for the longer term is to improve the service offer across the board to people with learning disabilities, co-produced with people we support, to realise the vision set out in the Transforming Care Plan locally.
Also transferring to Oxford Health is the Evenlode unit, which supports people who need to be cared for in a secure environment and currently has seven patients on the 10 bed unit. Based at Littlemore Mental Health Centre, the service will benefit from being overseen by an experienced team that already manages medium secure forensic patients in adult mental health.
Slade House will be formally transferred to Oxford Health in the summer and Oxford Health is keen to see it develop as a key health facility for Oxford. LD management and the Intensive Support Team are already working on-site, as are ‘Stepdown’ services, providing rehabilitation and help for people to make the transition from inpatient to community services.
The Vision service has also transferred from Southern Health to Oxford Health. The service has 12 staff providing social care outreach support to 46 people with a learning disability.
Debbie Robinson, Southern Health’s Associate Director of Adult Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, said: “The transition of our services has proceeded smoothly and safely thanks to the hard work of our Oxfordshire staff and the partnership approach taken by everyone concerned – including local families and people with a learning disability. On behalf of Southern Health, I’d like to wish Oxfordshire teams, their service users and Oxford Health all the very best for the future.”
Sula Wiltshire, OCCG’s director of quality, said: “We are very pleased that these specialist health services for people with Learning Disability have transferred successfully to Oxford Health. This is an important part of the transformation of care and improved outcomes for people living with learning disability and/or autism by March 2019.
We look forward to working with Oxford Health, those people who use these services and those people who care for them to deliver this ambitious programme.”
Find out more about the LD service.