Specialist health services for people with intellectual disability in Scotland

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BackgroundPeople with intellectual disability (ID) are known to have a high prevalence of health needs, and to require access to specialist health services in addition to primary care and generic secondary care health services. However, there is no national database of each locality's specialist health service provision. Such a record would highlight variation in provision and enable benchmarking.MethodA 15-item questionnaire was developed which included questions on ID health services and staffing levels. This was sent to the chief executive of each of the 15 identified National Health Service primary care trusts/health boards which provide ID services in Scotland. The same questionnaire was also sent to the lead clinician/clinical director of each service. The results were converted to per 100 000 population per trust and presented in cumulative frequency tables to allow benchmarking.ResultsA response rate of 100% was achieved. The results show a wide range in the type of services provided by each locality in Scotland. Only three services (21%) have completed the process of resettlement. There was a wide-ranging variability in the number of beds/day places and professionals employed per 100 000 population per trust.ConclusionsThere is widespread diversity in the service provision between different parts of Scotland. Geographical distances and responsibilities for service provision to remote and rural communities did not appear to account for these differences.

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