16 January 2013
Mencap support the Frontline First campaign
20 08 2010 | Mencap
There are over 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.
Mencap is committed to ensuring that they receive the healthcare they need. We know that this doesn’t always happen – for years families have told us of their experiences of when things have gone wrong because of a lack of understanding on the frontline about how to treat their loved ones with a learning disability.
By law, all healthcare professionals must ensure that people with a learning disability have access to good quality healthcare and specialist learning disability liaison nurses have a crucial role to play in making this happen. Specialist nurses save time, money and, most importantly, lives. Learning disability liaison nurses are not a luxury because saving lives is not a luxury.
In June, Mencap heard first-hand from doctors and nurses about their experiences of treating patients with a learning disability. Of the 1,000 health professionals surveyed, more than a third had not been trained in how to make reasonable adjustments, and more than half of doctors and over two thirds of nurses said they needed specific guidelines on how to do this. Learning disability liaison nurses are often the vital link that means that a patient with a learning disability has their needs assessed and taken into account, that their family or carers are involved and listened to, and that information is given in a form they can understand. This can make all the difference to their care and treatment.
On 21 June, we launched our Getting it right campaign, calling on health authorities to make a number of commitments to improve the healthcare they give to people with a learning disability. One of those commitments is to employ a learning disability liaison nurse in their hospitals. At the time of writing, 52 UK health authorities had signed up to the campaign.
Mencap is supporting the RCN’s Frontline First campaign to protect the specialist frontline expertise that can mean the difference between life and death for someone with a learning disability.