Better help pledged for disabled

People with learning difficulties in Norfolk and Waveney have been promised improved services following new training for health staff.Hospital officials have been running workshops and offering training for staff to help them understand more about the needs of people who have learning difficulties when they come for treatment.

People with learning difficulties in Norfolk and Waveney have been promised improved services following new training for health staff.

Hospital officials have been running workshops and offering training for staff to help them understand more about the needs of people who have learning difficulties when they come for treatment.

Members of NHS Norfolk's board will be updated on the improvements when they meet tomorrow.

A Norfolk Health Services learning disabilities/difficulties action plan has been developed.


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Stephen McCormack, NHS Norfolk's commissioning manager for mental health, said the aim was to enhance the quality of life for all patients with a learning disability, improve their overall wellbeing and lead to a more cost-effective delivery of health services to them.

He said: “NHS Norfolk has shown that we are committed to working with our health and social care partners to meet the needs of people with learning difficulties.”

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Learning difficulties and disabili-ties comprise of a wide range of problems, ranging from autistic spectrum disorders to a low IQ or development issues.

The Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital (N&N), the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn and the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust are all striving to improve services for those with learning difficulties. The QEH has run workshops and training for staff and there is a Learning Disability Steering Group, which works across all areas of the trust.

About 1,000 staff members at the N&N have received training and each ward has a learning difficulties' champion to liaise with patients and their family or carer, to ensure their needs are met.

The hospital has also produced a short web film with 10 top tips for coming into hospital - produced and filmed with the input of people with learning difficulties.

Carol Edwards, deputy director of nursing and education at the N&N, said: “The care for people learning disabilities has really changed over the past few years and it is getting better and better.”

NHS Norfolk's board meets at 2pm tomorrow at the John Jarrold Suite at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich.

The agenda and supporting papers can be accessed online at http:// www.norfolk.nhs.uk/board/ meetings/index.html.

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