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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

New liason service for Learning Disabilities patients to launch at Swansea hospital

Written by The Editorial Team

A new service designed to give patients with learning disabilities a helping hand when they need hospital care is being launched this week at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

The key priority of the Learning Disabilities Liaison Service will be to flag up people with a learning disability as soon as they are admitted to hospital. It also aims to improve the quality of services they receive and promote better collaboration between health staff as they care for them.
The service has been created with the family of Paul Ridd, from Baglan, a patient with learning disabilities who died at Morriston Hospital in 2009 after receiving very poor care. 
Since then his brother and sister, Jonathan Ridd and Jayne Nicholls, have been working closely with ABMU staff to help develop and improve care for those with a learning disability.
They will be among the guest speakers at the official launch of the service by ABMU’s Vice-Chairman Charles Janczewski on Wednesday, 22nd June.
Other speakers include Mencap Cymru’s Director Wayne Crocker, Sue Beacock of the Welsh Government, representatives from self-advocacy group Bridgend People First and senior health board staff. Lord Mayor of Swansea David Hopkins will be among the invited audience for the launch.
Consultant nurse Christopher Griffiths is leading the service which has just seen the appointment of two liaison nurses - Joanne Edwards, based at Morriston Hospital, and Claire Jenkins at Princess of Wales Hospital.
Their role includes health promotion and education, staff training, supporting acute staff in the coordination of care and improving communication with patients.
Christopher said: “They both bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding of working with people with learning disabilities in both hospital and primary care settings.”
He said the team will be on hand to prepare patients for admission to hospital as well as supporting them during their time on the ward and after they return home.
ABMU’s Nurse Director for Mental Health and Learning Disability Hazel Powell (pictured) said the new service was building on hard work done across ABMU over the past five years, especially by the Learning Disability Pathway Group.
She said: “I am delighted to see the launch of the liaison service which represents our ongoing commitment to improving patient care for people with learning disabilities and their families and carers.
“Learning disability nurses play a vital role in reducing the health inequalities that have all too often been experienced by people with learning disabilities and bridge the gap between primary and secondary health services for people with learning disabilities.
“They ensure that reasonable adjustments are made and support healthcare staff as they work with people with learning disabilities.”
Following the launch of the service Jonathan and Jayne will be handing out details about the learning disability care pathway to wards and departments in the hospital.
They were closely involved in developing the groundbreaking pathway which gives guidance on how people with a learning disability should be treated when they come into hospital and it has since been rolled out throughout Wales.