A new report from the Royal College of Nursing has revealed a shortage of specialist learning disability nurses could be ‘putting lives at risk’.
People with a learning disability already experience devastating and long-standing barriers to accessing healthcare, and Mencap is calling for action following the Royal College of Nursing’s report.
Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“Time and time again, evidence has shown people with a learning disability are facing devastating barriers to accessing healthcare – they are dying 25 years younger than the general population and are three times more likely to die avoidably. This report clearly shows the vital role that learning disability nurses play in so many health and care settings and the important work they do to address some of the most shocking challenges faced by people with a learning disability.
“Learning disability nurses can make all the difference to a group of people so often forgotten. And whilst there has been some progress in boosting training and recruitment, we need to see the Government urgently address the sustained fall in learning disability nurse numbers – particularly across England.
“These specialist nurses sit at the heart of changes we need to see – improving health outcomes and access to treatment for people with a learning disability and investing in community services to reduce in-patient unit admissions. Governments, health and care agencies across the UK need to step up to meet the challenges the Royal College of Nursing has clearly set out.”