Editorial

Sell-out Learning Disability Practice conference in October will ensure a lively agenda

Lessons from the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review, recruitment and reasonable adjustments at this year’s event

Lessons from the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review, recruitment and reasonable adjustments at this year’s event


Picture: Neil O’Connor

The fourth-ever Learning Disability Practice conference takes place on 10 October at the Manchester Conference Centre.

I’m pleased to say it is a sell-out and this year the event will feature a range of topics all pertinent to nursing practice. There’s a mixture of workshops and plenary sessions on topics a diverse as assistive technology, to the lessons that can be learned from the Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR), which was published earlier this year.

The review has examined all reported deaths of people with learning disabilities and the findings make grim reading, with evidence that people are dying much earlier than previously thought and from conditions that, for many reasons, were mismanaged.

National publicity

That said, the impact of the LeDeR report, which received national publicity, appears to be having an knock-on effect on government policy.

In his ten-year plan, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens has reportedly included the need to improve services for people with learning disabilities in a bid to tackle health inequalities. There has also been an announcement that there are plans to train all healthcare professionals in England in understanding the needs of people with learning disabilities and how to make reasonable adjustments in hospitals and the community.

‘There are plans afoot for a campaign to recruit more learning disability nurses’

Many would say this cannot come too soon.

The Department for Health and Social Care says it will consult on training proposals with people who have experience of learning disabilities and by that I would hope they mean you – learning disability (LD) nurses – the people who have the expertise in this field, alongside families.

Also, I understand that there are plans afoot for a campaign to recruit more LD nurses. There was understandable disappointment in the summer that the general nursing advertising campaign did not feature LD nursing widely. Well, it seems there is some positive news – at last.

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