UK – The cuts have serious impact according to learning disability nurses

To read on Care Appointments website:

Note: In the UK, the term of ‘Learning disability’ is used instead of ‘Intellectual disability’.

Learning disability nurses have serious concerns over patient safety

Friday, 26 June 2015   Written by  The Editorial Team


A new RCN survey reveals that learning disability nurses have serious concerns about the impact that cuts are having on the 1.5 million people living with a learning disability in the UK.

The RCN survey has found that 71% have witnessed cuts to learning disability services and 50% are now concerned for the safety of patients. Almost all of those of those surveyed said there are not enough services in the community to care for and support people with learning disabilities.

According to official statistics, learning disability services in the NHS across the UK have lost 21% (1634) of nursing posts since 2010. The survey has found that in the last year alone, more than two fifths (42%) have seen drops in staffing levels and, as a result, only 10% of respondents say they always have enough time to deliver the right levels of care to their patients.

Worryingly, 64% of nurses say that people with learning disabilities are often in hospital for longer than they should be despite UK wide policy commitments to reduce numbers.

More than half (53%) said that people with learning disabilities are unable to access appropriate care in the right setting and a shocking 95% of those questioned said there simply aren’t enough services in the community to provide sufficient care and support to those who need it.

Without integrated health, social care and housing plans in place, people with learning disabilities are being prevented from living independent lives where, along with support from their families and friends, they are able to manage their own conditions.

In the survey, learning disability nurses were asked to identify the main barriers to delivering the right standards of care and these areas were highlighted:

  • Lack of funding for services
  • Not enough learning disability nurses
  • Not enough services in the community

Nurses too have suffered as a result of the cuts. Almost a quarter (23%) have witnessed cuts to pay, while 35% have seen down-banding in their workplace. 45% reported that conditions and services have worsened over recent years.

Laura Andrews, Professional Lead, Learning Disability Nursing, Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “As a learning disability nurse who qualified in the 1980s I have been privy to the major changes that have taken place in regard to the care of people with learning disabilities. (…)

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Thanks @BILD_tweets to have drawn my attention on this article.

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