Child and adolescent learning disability service launched


Fylde and Wyre children and young people with learning disabilities are to benefit from a new NHS service.

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust will deliver the service on behalf of NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The service, developed following feedback from local parents, is open to children and young people aged 18 or under with a moderate to severe learning disability who present with challenging behaviours or mental health issues that cannot be met by existing services.

Following a referral into the service by family doctors, patients will receive a holistic assessment by a care co-ordinator and a personalised care plan designed in collaboration with family members.

Families will receive help with parenting programmes and specialist interventions including for anxiety, challenging behaviour, sleep and toilet training.

The service will also provide consultation and training for other professionals working with children and young people with learning disabilities in Fylde and Wyre.


Fylde and Wyre CCG chief operating officer Peter Tinson said: “This service has addressed a gap that previously existed in local health services and will provide a service to meet the needs of local children and young people now and in the future.

“We estimate that in Fylde and Wyre there are around 720 children and young people with moderate to severe learning disabilities, many of whom will benefit from this service

“We are pleased to be able to harness the skills and expertise of Lancashire Care in bringing this service forward as we work to improve the health and wellbeing of our local population.”

Tracey Hartley-Smith, Team leader in the Children and Adolescents Mental Health Service at Lancashire Care, said: “We are delighted to offer this service in Fylde and Wyre and ensure there is sufficient local capacity to meet the needs of children and young people in this area.

“We bring a high level of experience and expertise in caring for children and young people with learning disabilities. Our team consists of specialists that include senior practitioners, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and social workers. It’s our goal to improve outcomes for children and young people with learning disabilities and their families.”



Learning disability is not a mental illness or dyslexia. People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate. It is estimated that 1,198,000 people in England have a Learning Disability (2 percent of the general population.)

There is a difference in having a learning disability and having profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). People with PMLD need full-time help with every aspect of their lives, including eating, drinking, washing, dressing and toileting.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a learning disability as ‘a state of arrested or incomplete development of the mind’. One of the most commonly used definitions in the UK is that contained in the Valuing People and Valuing People Now strategies. This states that a learning disability includes the presence of:

  • A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with;
  • A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning); which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.