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Opinion

Reports show what a difference learning disability nurses DO make

Specialist nurses care for people with learning disabilities and/or autism from the cradle to the grave. If there were more of you, care would improve

Specialist nurses care for people with learning disabilities and/or autism from the cradle to the grave
Picture: iStock

Reports about the care of people with learning disabilities that have come out in the last few weeks paint a frustratingly depressing picture of a system that is in desperate need of an overhaul.

Too often people with learning disabilities are not being listened to and families are being let down as they seek to have loved ones removed from long-term segregation into decent community homes near where they live.

Care would improve if there were more learning disability nurses

People with learning disabilities are still dying too early and half of deaths included in the latest Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) were avoidable.

However, what reports also show loud and clear is just what a difference you as learning disability nurses make and what can go wrong when you are not on duty.

You care for people with learning disabilities and/or autism from the cradle to the grave – the articles in learningdisabilitypractice.com are testament to this. And, if there were more of you, care would improve.

Mandatory training for all NHS and social care staff

There are attempts to change attitudes and enhance care, such as the mandatory training introduced in England and Wales for all NHS and social care staff and the latest Department of Health and Social Care report on providing more community care and reducing reliance on inpatient facilities.

The last plan the Transforming care agenda, which was borne out of the Winterbourne View scandal, failed to reach its targets to reduce inpatient care, and this latest announcement will need heavy investment to provide homes in the community.

Sadly, applications for nursing degree courses have dropped this year with the number of mature students – a route that many take to get into learning disability nursing – falling sharply.

Meanwhile, innovations are taking place in your specialty. To find out more please save 3 November, 12-2pm, for our Learning Disability Practice webinar. Further details to come at rcni.com/rcni-events

I hope to see you then.


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RCNi Plus offers unlimited access to RCNi Learning, Learning Disability Practice, our 9 specialist journals and RCNi Portfolio to store your CPD for revalidation. Use the discount code TRYPLUS to trial it for just £1 a week for 12 weeks. Go to RCNi Plus Tryplus Promotion for details

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