We offer assessment and support to people who have a learning disability (sometimes called an intellectual disability). Read on to learn more. Or view these pages:

And watch our videos at the bottom of this page on STOMP - stopping over-medicating people with a learning disabilty, autism or both; on sepsis awareness; and on constipation awareness.

What services do you provide?

three-learning-disabilities-colleagues-sitting-talking-smiling.JPGWe have a number of community teams covering: 

We also have:

Who works in the learning disability service?

Our team includes:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Learning disability nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Strategic health facilitators - working with GPs, dentists, pharmacists and others to make sure people with a learning disability get the best possible care
  • Team administrators.

How do you support people?

We use lots of person-centred approaches:     

  • Provide education – with regards to diagnosis and health problems, with further work as necessary      
  • Family and carer work – helping families and carers to understand behaviour, facilitating the development of skills, positive behaviour plans, enhancing coping mechanisms and promoting appropriate activity, occupation and communication
  • Specialised individual therapies – behavioural approaches adapted for use with learning disabilities e.g. family work, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Processing Assessments and interventions, Social Stories, Special Hearing Clinic, eating and drinking advice, postural and mobility care.
  • Pharmacological therapy (medicines) used sometimes when an individual has complex conditions                       
  • Liaising and joint working.      

Will you involve others?

We work closely with other people involved, with consent, to ensure a smooth and coordinated approach.

We might not just see you. We will talk to others involved in your care, and help other services to understand your needs (liaison). Some workers may contact us for advice (consultation) and we may also provide training for services that help you. Sometimes we will act as the main person to contact about your care (coordination).

How do I get an appointment with the learning disability service?

Referrals can come to us from you, your family or carer, your GP, or other profession and then we will invite you or your parent for a first appointment to learn more about you. We will often visit you at home or anywhere else more suitable for you.

What happens on my first appointment?

At the first appointment often we will meet with you and your parents or carers, sometimes we may see them on their own. We will try and work out if our service can help you. If we find out that your difficulties are not because of a learning disability, or you are a child or young person then we will ask another service to help. We also sometimes also gather all of the people involved in your care together to try and work together. We will meet you with your parents/carers at a place that suits you.

What happens next?

We will ask lots of questions and maybe watch the things that you do. Our assessment and advice or support will be in your community or where you live. We will provide help that is personal to you which will meet your health needs and support your family. We will consider the right things for your age, ability and culture. We will plan how to help with you and your carers. We think the best outcomes for people are when families and their wider support networks are fully engaged and invested and working in partnership with our team.   

How can I learn more?

Click on the links above, or the buttons below, to find out more about the work of our team.

Learn more about the different types of learning disabilities, how to cope with a diagnosis and challenging behaviour, and much more, by visiting the NHS website.


If you are going to get treatment at Royal Derby Hospital, one of our learning disability nurses can help you. They will support you and your family during your visit. Their job title is 'Acute Liaison Nurse for Learning Disabilities'.


There are also a number of videos that explain what it is like at Royal Derby Hospital. These have been made specially for people with learning disabilities. Click on the links below to open the videos in YouTube:

Reasonable Adjustments Wheel.png

Reasonable Adjustments Wheel

To print a copy of the Reasonable Adjustments Wheel click here

People that can give you advice

Our Community Teams can help individuals with significant learning disabilities who need specialist support: learn more about these teams at the top of this page.

For information about improving the health of people with learning disabilities contact our Strategic Health Facilitation team: 01332 268455

Patients with Learning Disabilities attending the Royal Derby Hospital can have help from the Learning Disability and Neurodiversity team. You can contact the team on 01332 340131 ext 88611. Click here to see the UHDB website for information about the Learning Disability and Neurodiversity team. The national NHS website has a guide to help people with a learning disability to prepare for a stay in hospital.

Our Patient Experience Team (Complaints and PALs) can advise you about local services and help you with any questions or concerns.Tel: 0800 027 2128 (Freephone) or 01332 623751 Emaildhcft.patientexperience@nhs.net

Click here to find out more about how to look after yourself and keep well.


Other people and organisations that may be able to help

Information about your health

View Easy Read literature on our Easy Read health information guides section >> 

To find out more about learning disabilities, see NHS Choices and the Mencap site

GMC advice for doctors on treating patients with a learning disability 

What is the issue?

The Disability Partnership’s Pharmacy Project reported in 2016 that many pharmacies are providing a reasonably good service. However, there still remain issues with communication. Not all pharmacists are explaining why or how to take the prescribed medication.

What is the risk?

The Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities (CIPOLD 2013) looked into the deaths of 247 people. It identified a number of frequently reported problems with medication, including:

  • the person not taking or not being given prescribed medicines, or not being given the correct dose
  • medicine being prescribed in a form the person could not take (due to swallowing difficulties) and family carers or staff devising unsafe solutions
  • lack of monitoring for side-effects or unreliable monitoring.
What advice is available?

Making reasonable adjustments

Read Public Health England's report, 'Pharmacy and people with learning disabilities: making reasonable adjustments to services'.

Choice and Medication

View Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's medication resources by visiting our Choice and Medication site.


Visit the website of the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) for an accredited learning programme on learning disabilities.

Easy News is prepared by the charity United Response. It is a newspaper designed to be accessible for people with learning disabilities.

Politics and the news are often inaccessible to people with learning disabilities because of the use of jargon and difficult language. Easy News is published every two months and looks at important subjects in the news.


You can watch videos on this page about:


STOMP - stopping over-medicating people with a learning disability, autism or both.

There are a series of videos on how to make sure medication levels are right for people with a learning disability, autism or both. You can also watch this as a playlist on our YouTube channel.

Video on sepsis

The video below provides useful information on sepsis for paid carers and professionals who support people with a learning disability.

Video on constipation - Poobusters!