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Learning disability nurses can change people’s perceptions, says service user

 A service user has said learning disability nurses can play a vital role in educating other healthcare professionals away from judgemental behaviour.
Scott Watkin

Learning disability nurses can play a vital role in educating other healthcare professionals away from judgemental behaviour, a service user has told a conference.

Transforming Care Assurance Board (TCAB) co-chair Scott Watkin said: Although I have a learning disability, nothing has ever got in my way, as I havent let it get in my way.

Speaking at the Learning Disability Practice event in Manchester yesterday, Mr Watkin said that, despite his many achievements, he is still affected by other peoples judgements about his abilities and capacity.

Wrong assumptions

I have a little girl, but when she was born, she was nearly taken away, he said, explaining the maternity unit had concerns the couple couldn't cope because of their learning disabilities.

They assumed we didn't have capacity.

I [told childrens service] you can come and see us and look around, but I dont believe

Learning disability nurses can play a vital role in educating other healthcare professionals away from judgemental behaviour, a service user has told a conference.

Transforming Care Assurance Board (TCAB) co-chair Scott Watkin said: ‘Although I have a learning disability, nothing has ever got in my way, as I haven’t let it get in my way.’

Speaking at the Learning Disability Practice event in Manchester yesterday, Mr Watkin said that, despite his many achievements, he is still affected by other people’s judgements about his abilities and capacity.

Wrong assumptions

‘I have a little girl, but when she was born, she was nearly taken away,’ he said, explaining the maternity unit had concerns the couple couldn't cope because of their learning disabilities.

‘They assumed we didn't have capacity.

‘I [told children’s service] you can come and see us and look around, but I don’t believe you have come here for the right reasons.’

Mr Watkin and his wife were eventually deemed able to raise their daughter without outside help, but the experience has left its mark.

‘I am trying to tell you these judgments should not be made on people,' he said.

‘Big achievement’

He also told nurses about the lack of support he received from adults in authority when he was growing up.

‘I was told I would never achieve my GCSEs, have a job, live independently, have a family, and do what I am doing.

‘To [have done all that] is really a big achievement for me and I believe I have proved all those people wrong.’

Before working on TCAB, which was set up to oversee the progress of commitments made in response to failings in care at Winterbourne View, Mr Watkin held numerous roles to improve care of those with learning disabilities.

Listening to families

He has been co-national director for learning disabilities at the Department of Health and is a visiting lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.

Mr Watkin added: ‘Nurses all need to be working together making sure we are listening to families and people with learning disabilities.

‘If we listen to everybody and enable people to stay in the community we will see this programme work,’ he said, referencing national plans to improve care for those with learning disabilities.

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