Inspired Purpose are supporting Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (SNEE ICB) to undertake a Learning Disability and Autism Workforce Review. This exciting programme will assist the development and delivery of a Regional (East of England) Learning Disability and Autism (LD&A) Workforce Strategy.

The lead for the project Sue Bridges said, “We want everyone with a learning disability and/or autism in the Suffolk and North East Essex area to enjoy the best possible health, wellbeing, care and support throughout their life. This means we need to understand who the health and care workforce are and what skills they need to be able to provide high quality support for peoples physical and mental health needs. I’m really pleased to be leading this important work and know we can make a real difference for the future.”

The review team at Inspired Purpose includes professionals from health and social care, including a professional with lived experience, and a data analyst. Working together they will identify what the workforce needs to be safe, compassionate, and supportive of those with a learning disability and autistic people. The review will identify what the workforce in LD&A Services currently looks like, the opportunities that exist, the issues faced within the sector and recommendations including short, medium, and longer-term ambitions.

Sue sees this work as critical to the future planning for the area and said, “This work is going to help set the future direction for services, improve co-ordination between the existing workforce and drive future health and care career pathways across sectors and encourage greater integration of the workforce.”

To support this work, Inspired Purpose have developed an innovative data collection tool which has been distributed to all learning disability and autism services (adult and child and young persons) in the Suffolk and North East Essex ICB area. This includes health, social care, private and independent sector, primary care and the Voluntary and Community Sector.

Inspired Purpose are also working with ACE Anglia to ensure they hear the voice of people with a learning disability and autistic people. They will be attending a Suffolk People First event in September to capture the views of people with lived experience. We will be asking people:

What is most important to you about the staff who work with you?

What skills should staff have?

What should staff know about working with people with a learning disability or autism?

Do you want to be employed?

If so, what kind of job would you like?

What 3 things would improve the support you currently receive?

Inspired Purpose are gathering quantitative and qualitative data via interviews and research; holding (online) open events to enable providers across Suffolk and North East Essex to participate in the data collection. Sue explained that, “Once all information is gathered, a workforce review report will be submitted to the Integrated Care Board to plan improvements within the future workforce, support the development of skills and knowledge across all providers and better integrate the workforce, which is so crucial in enabling people’s wellbeing”. The report findings will be shared with key stakeholders including those who have contributed to it once complete.

Zandrea Stewart the founder of Inspired Purpose, said that the work fits into a bigger picture of what Inspired Purpose stands for in terms of compassionate and skilled practice saying, “The aim is for the workforce to be proud of the care and support they provide, to ensure learning disability and autism services deliver the best outcomes consistently and efficiently. Ultimately our vision for this work is that the workforce has the right support and skills to specifically address health inequalities and provide the highest quality care and support within a wider system.”

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