We held our Treat Me Well Launch event on Thursday 15 February at St Erme Community Centre in Truro, Cornwall.
In the run up to the launch I had helped organise the event. I sent invitations to people with a learning disability who we support, their families, local MPs, medical professionals and the media.
I also arranged the venue, as well as refreshments. We were very lucky as we had some delicious cakes donated by The Mad Hatter B&B and Café in Hayle which went down a treat.
On the day of the event I helped set up the room, put up lots of Treat Me Well decorations and made sure everything was ready to run smoothly.
The event started with a talk from Sarah Newton MP, the Minister for Disabilities.
It was an honour to have her attend and share her positive experiences and ideas for the NHS that they are working on getting implemented. She spoke of ideas such as getting more people with a learning disability working in GP surgeries or hospitals, to mentor and train staff about learning disability.
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The launch event went amazingly, apart from some slight internet issues.
The highlight for me was seeing so many people with a learning disability who we support all across Cornwall and Plymouth. It was great to put faces to names and see everyone being so supportive of the campaign. It was also great to be working with different people and departments across Mencap, especially from the Campaigns Team.
From talking to families, I could see that they were all very excited at the hope of change that Treat Me Well will bring.
I also heard some very sad stories about loved one’s experiences in hospital and how this affected them all.
Going to hospital can be a scary time for anyone, but made even worse if you do not fully understand what is going on.
We need healthcare professionals to have knowledge and understanding of learning disability, as well as the skills and training to be able to make reasonable adjustments to help put patients at ease and improve their care.
Before Mencap I worked for the NHS in a GP’s surgery. They do a fantastic job and we were one of the first surgeries to have ours set up as a ‘safe place’ for people with a learning disability. However, there was no training on learning disability available at the time, which would have been extremely helpful.
Part of Mencap's Big Plan is to make sure people with a learning disability are included in the community, and this should extend to all aspects of their lives. I am fully behind the Treat Me Well campaign and will do all I can to make sure changes are made to transform how the NHS treats people with a learning disability in hospital.
If we all rally together and get other organisations, professionals and MP’s to stand with us we can really make a difference for people with a learning disability.