John Northfield

Profile photo of John Northfield
After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.


Follow me here –

  • Badge_support

Understanding research – what does it mean for me? Accessible research findings for people with learning disabilities

information_sources_shutterstock_139947166 (2)

Last week we posted about accessible websites. This week we thought we would consider the reflections published recently on the Plain Facts project, which ran for many many years, offering access to research findings on topics of interest to people with learning disabilities

[read the full story...]

Inconsistent messages about healthy eating impact on choices made by people with learning disabilities in day services

Food on the brain

What do we know about what factors influencing food choice by people with learning disabilities in day services?

Here, we look at a qualitative study, which sets out to explore this in a day service in Scotland.

[read the full story...]

Psychotropic medications: scale and patterns of prescribing to people with learning disabilities

shutterstock_38537203 two bottles of drugs

In this blog, John Northfield considers a study of rates and patterns of prescribing psychotropic medications by GPs to people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

[read the full story...]

Behavioural/cognitive-behavioural interventions in aggressive challenging behaviour

research_meeting_shutterstock_200711651 (2)

Reported rates of seriously challenging behaviour vary considerably in the literature, but the impact can be significant on the person, their family and their supporters.

Here we look at what a Cochrane review of the evidence from randomised controlled trials has to say about the effectiveness of behavioural and cognitive-behavioural interventions for what is defined as outwardly aggressive challenging behaviour.

[read the full story...]

The Learning Disabilities Elf welcomes you to the National Elf Service


We are delighted to announce that the Learning Disabilities Elf is now part of the National Elf Service website. This means that you can sign up to become a member of the Elf Service and benefit from lots of exciting new members’ features.

[read the full story...]

NICE challenging behaviour guidelines stress person centred proactive support but barriers to achievement still exist

pieces_shutterstock_155609561 (2)

NICE guidelines on supporting people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour have now been published. Here we look at the main recommendations and reflect on how likely they are to improve practice.

[read the full story...]

Don’t Put Up With It! Video resource for women with learning disabilities affected by domestic violence

Targeting psychological and social factors, such as mental health, social support, well-being, societal perceptions and self-constructs, may alleviate loneliness and should be measured in loneliness interventions.

A recent research project set out to listen to and understand the experiences of women with learning disabilities who were victims of domestic violence. As a result, the project team produced a set of materials to provide information and advice.

Here we look at the video resource produced by the team.

[read the full story...]

Would you like to write for the Learning Disabilities Elf?


We are looking for people who have skills in reading, appraising and writing about learning disabilities evidence. If that sounds like you, please read more and drop us a line!

[read the full story...]