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Learning disability is an 'equal and valuable' branch of nursing, says report

Report calls for more recognition and education provision for learning disability nurses

Report calls for more recognition and education provision for learning disability nurses


Picture: Roy Mehta

Learning disability nurses should be more visible in the workforce and should be recognised as an 'equal and valuable branch of nursing', according to a new report.

The report also calls for all healthcare professionals to receive training in caring for patients with learning disabilities.

Patients’ and nurses’ views

Produced by the Foundation of Nursing Studies (FoNS), the report is based on the views of more than 1,000 learning disability nurses and people with learning disabilities, gathered over 12 months via Twitter chats, a survey and events related to the specialty.

FoNS, a UK charity that works with nurses to improve clinical practice, also recommended:

  • Increasing the education provision for learning disability nursing.
  • Exploring the role of learning disability nurses as autonomous practitioners.


FONS chief executive Joanne
Bosanquet. Picture: David Gee

Its chief executive, Joanne Bosanquet, said: ‘As a global profession, we have this window of opportunity to influence policy from local to global level. Learning disability nursing influences health and well-being, increases access, ensures universal health coverage and tackles health inequalities.’

Tackling health inequalities

The report comes as details of the government’s plans to develop the nursing and wider healthcare workforce in England have been unveiled.

The interim People Plan includes plans for a recruitment campaign to encourage people into nursing, with a focus on high vacancy areas such as learning disability nursing.

Chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said the FoNs report contained ‘valuable learning’. ‘As we move towards implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan, we will use the outputs from this work to inform this vital area of nursing practice,’ she added.


Find out more

Read the FONS report – Celebrate Me: Capturing the voices of learning disability nurses and people who use services


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