THE new director of services for people with learning disabilities is passionate about improving the health inequalities they suffer.

Determined to make health services in the county accessible for everyone, Liz Williams already has plans in place to ensure adults with learning disabilities have the same access as everybody else.

With more than 10 years experience under her belt in senior leadership, including at the Department of Health, she is looking forward to supporting people with learning disabilities and autism to lead full lives of their choice.

She said: "They are the best group of people to work with.

"And what is really important is that we cannot make any decision without them or their family.

"We have this brilliant partnership with groups such as Autism Oxford and My Life My Choice to make sure people with learning disabilities get the care and help they actually need.

"It is so beneficial to have these open dialogues with these groups, because they are the service users and we need to be listening to them about what they need."

Earlier this month it was announced that Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust would be taking over the services from Southern Health, and Ms Williams will be steering the team.

The trust will now provide support and services for around 670 adults in the county with a learning disability.

Staff from Southern Health will move across to Oxford Health and the services will be run by the staff and teams residents know.

Slade House will be formally transferred to the trust this summer and the plan will be to develop it as a key health facility for the city.

Also transferring to Oxford Health is the Evenlode unit, which supports people who need to be cared for in a secure environment and currently has seven patients on the 10 bed unit.

Based at Littlemore Mental Health Centre, the service will benefit from being overseen by an experienced team that already manages medium secure forensic patients in adult mental health.

Ms Williams has two main priorities for adults with learning disabilities.

She said: "There is still this social stigma and social inequality that we have to dismantle.

"I want adults with learning disabilities to have a health check with their GP every year and to do this we need to be going into practices to ensure they are accessible for them.

"They should be able to access healthcare from the same services just like everybody else.

"The second thing is mental health, and what services and support we need to be providing to help tackle this."