MORE than 1,000 children have learning disabilities in Halton and families are now being asked to help shape NHS services supporting them.

About 860 children are living with moderate to severe learning disabilities in the borough, an increase of almost 29 per cent since 2015, and more than 250 schoolchildren have autism according to NHS figures.

Independent health and care champion Healthwatch Halton has launched ‘What would you do?’ to encourage people to share their views about what changes to NHS services should look like.

The NHS Long Term Plan outlines how the NHS will support people with a learning disability or autism to live healthier, happier lives.

Areas of focus include more investment in training, undergraduate degree places and supported internships to provide better employment opportunities.

The NHS wants services to be more accessible for people with a learning disability or autism, starting in specialist schools where the NHS will run hearing, sight and dental checks, that might have been hard to access in other community settings.

It is also proposed to allocate a key support worker to every child and young person with a learning disability or autism by 2024.

Dave Wilson, Healthwatch Halton manager, said: "We want to know how the NHS can help improve the support and services it provides to these children and their families.

"We want to hear from parents, relatives, carers or community groups about their own personal experiences and find out what could be improved.

"No matter how big or small the issue, we want to hear about it. Sharing your experience with us is quick and easy - and could make a big difference."

Healthwatch Halton is also keen to hear from people about a range of other health services which support people with conditions such as mental health, cancer, heart and lung disease and dementia.

People can share their views in an online survey.