The Mencap Getting it Right campaign was launched some time ago in recognition that people with a learning disability were getting a raw deal from the NHS, with unequal access to treatments and reports of poor care. A range of reasons may lie behind this poor response, including inadequate training, lack of support, lack of knowledge and negative attitudes to learning disability in health care professionals.
The researcher in this small study was interested in hearing the voice of people with learning disability using hospital services in Merseyside.
He conducted 13 semi-structured interviews and carried out a thematic analysis of 12 of them. Two interviews took place with an unaccompanied person with a learning disability, three with a person with a learning disability alongside their carer, and seven with the carer or carers of a person with a learning disability.
The themes emerging from the analysis showed that the issues identified in the Mencap campaign and in previous studies remain.
The researcher concludes that people with learning disabilities on Merseyside
continue to contest with the same difficulties during hospital experiences as have been identified previously by numerous national and international investigations.
A small-scale investigation of hospital experiences among people with a learning disability on Merseyside: speaking with patients and their carers, Dinsmore, A, in British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40: 201–212.
Reading this post i would like to say that staff training sessions led by people with learning disabilities can make an enormous difference not just in terms of awareness of the issues but in changing attitudes, teaching people not to make assumptions.
Thanks for your comment. I couldn’t agree more with your point about the impact of training sessions by people with learning disabilities. There are some excellent examples of this on the GMC learning disabilities website http://www.gmc-uk.org/learningdisabilities/
Have you been involved in any such sessions yourself?
I wonder if any other of our readers have any experience of this?