People with learning disabilities have poorer health outcomes and poorer experiences using healthcare services compared to those without learning disabilities. In addition, their life span is shorter, they are less likely to access health screening programmes and less likely to adhere to treatment regiments. These are just some of the issues that have been widely researched and established when it comes to providing healthcare for people with learning disabilities.

It is important to recognise that communication is central to delivering safe, effective, high quality patient care. Many issues arise when this is overlooked, particularly for population groups such as those with learning disabilities.

The Springwell Project was developed by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) with people with learning disabilities to improve experiences of using specialist health services. The Project developed a list of Springwell Standards to assist service providers in developing safer, inclusive services. As people with learning disabilities use services across the healthcare sector, these standards are equally useful for those delivering care at BSUH NHS Trust sites.

The Springwell Project came up with 4 Standards for Good Engagement, which are useful for everyone, even those without learning disabilities. They are:

  1. Supporting communication
  2. Getting to know about you
  3. Supporting your rights
  4. Making decisions together

You can find out more information about the Springwell Standards in the documents below:

Springwell 4 Standards for Good Engagement Explanation

Springwell 4 Standards Template

Want to know more about the Springwell Project or get involved? You can review the resources below. These short videos are useful for anyone wanting to learn more about working with people with learning disabilities.

  • Introduction to the Springwell Project


  • Our standards

  • Our service

  • Initial assessment role play

  • Questions and Answers : introduction plus all Q&As

  • Individual Q&As

How do you make sure my care is all about me?

What if the person finds it difficult to communicate or understand things?

What if I don’t understand my care plan?

What if I don’t want anyone else to see my careplan?

What if I don’t agree with my careplan?

What happens after I have got my careplan?

Why do I also need a risk assessment?

What do I do if everything goes wrong?

Will I be part of every decision about me?