Harrow Council praised a focus group for those with learning disabilities, which aims to tackle their specific health and social care issues.

Its health and wellbeing board championed the progress of the initiative, which is spearheaded by the council and Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The group, which was formed last year, seeks to identify gaps in care for those with learning disabilities and those close to them such as parents and carers.

It then attempts to find solutions to these issues to ensure that these groups benefit from improved health and social care support.

“It shows the importance of speaking to our citizens and hearing their voices,” said Paul Hewitt, director of people services at Harrow Council.

He highlighted the distribution of a regular newsletter on the group’s progress, which, he explained, demonstrates “improved communication and information sharing”.

Those with learning difficulties can also make use of ‘health passports’, which outline their specific needs to health professionals when visiting hospitals and surgeries.

And the CCG will fund a series of educational sessions across 2019-20 for over 18s with learning disabilities and their carers living in Harrow.

These will include practical advice while people wait for consultations with specialist therapists and work with expert speakers.

The health wellbeing board suggested that, given the success of this focus group, similar forums should be set up specifically for carers and those with autism.