‘Getting it Right’ for people with learning disabilities

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According to the Charity Mencap, almost half the doctors and nurses in a poll of 1,084 think that people with learning disabilities receive worse health care than the rest of the population reported the BBC.

Consequently, the charity is asking for health trusts to sign a charter which will set out the rights of people with learning disabilities and the responsibilities of hospitals to provide them with the proper care.

Mencap’s research, which was carried out by ICM also revealed that nearly half of the doctors and a third of the nurses had witnesses a person with a learning disability being neglected or denied their dignity reports the BBC.

The reason for the inadequate care was in a large part because the health professionals had not had the appropriate training and didn’t have specific guidance on how to meet the needs of learning disabled patients.

“Healthcare professionals have recognised they need more support to get it right when treating people with a learning disability,” said Mencap Chief Executive, Mark Goldring.

The charity is launching their “Getting it Right” charter this week.

“Our charter sets out a standard of practice and will make health trusts accountable to people with a learning disability, their families and carers” said Goldring.

So what does the Getting It Right charter require of health professionals?

The Charter states that:

All people with a learning disability have an equal right to healthcare.

All health care professionals have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to the treatment they provide to people with a learning disability.

All health care professionals should provide a high standard of care and treatment and value the lives of people with a learning disability.

By signing the Charter hospitals pledge to:

  • Make sure that hospital passports are available and used
  • Make sure that all staff understand and apply the principles of mental capacity laws
  • Appoint a learning disability liaison nurse in hospitals
  • Make sure every eligible person with a learning disability can have an annual health check
  • Provide ongoing learning disability awareness training for all staff
  • Listen to, respect and involve families and carers
  • Provide practical support and information to families and carers
  • Provide information that is accessible for people with a learning disability
  • Display the ‘Getting it Right’ principles for everyone to see
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