RESEARCH has revealed the alarming figure that there are 1,200 avoidable deaths every year of people with learning disabilities – so Carlisle Mencap will next week be at the forefront of a campaign to improve the treatment for hospital patients with a learning disability.
Carlisle Mencap will be aiming to sign up NHS staff to the Treat Me Well campaign by having a stand in the atrium at the city’s Cumberland Infirmary on Monday and Wednesday next week.
The national Treat Me Well campaign follows research from YouGov and Freedom of Information requests to NHS trusts that revealed healthcare professionals and hospital trusts have been failing to make simple, reasonable adjustments to the care of someone with a learning disability that are legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 – and can save lives.
It follows a similar drive earlier in the year in which Carlisle Mencap signed up 114 staff at the city’ infirmary to the campaign. Next week the charity hopes to get the clinical leads to sign up.
A survey of healthcare professionals in this country revealed that 45% believed a lack of proper learning disability training is contributing to the high number of avoidable deaths.
Next week’s campaign is focusing on ‘Treat Me Well Top 10 Reasonable Adjustments’ that healthcare staff can make which will help in the care of people with learning disabilities. These adjustments include speaking clearly and using simple words; always asking the person what they need; making sure people can get into and around the hospital/surgery; and working with a support worker or a family member present.
Sheila Gregory, chief executive officer of Carlisle Mencap, said: “People with a learning disability face sharp healthcare inequalities, and more than 1,000 people with a learning disability die every year – when good healthcare could have saved their lives.
“This is why we are trying to get as many healthcare staff as possible to sign up to the Treat Me Well campaign and next week we will also be aiming to engage more with staff and also senior figures like clinical leads, so we can get the vital message across that these ‘reasonable adjustments’ can be made which will remove the barriers that people with a learning disability face when they go into hospital.”
Mrs Gregory added that the nationwide campaign, when launched earlier in the year, had met with great success in Cumbria with Carlisle Mencap managing to get more health professionals signed up to Treat Me Well than any other Mencap group in the UK.