Learning Disability Week success
Thursday 15 July 2010
Support the 'Getting it right' campaign for equal healthcare for people with a learning disability
Learning Disability Week 2010 took place between 21-27 June. This year the week focused on Mencap's 'Getting it right' campaign to improve the rights of people with a learning disability to equal healthcare.
Mencap's ‘Getting it right' charter has been developed with several Medical Royal Colleges and sets out the adjustments that healthcare professionals need to make when treating someone with a learning disability.
Throughout the week, supporters got involved by watching Mencap's new campaign film online and asking health authorities to sign up to the charter. So far, more than 40 healthcare authorities have done so.
Healthcare organisations, including the General Medical Council and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, gave their support to the campaign. And celebrities including Dr Hilary Jones from GMTV, Dr Chris Steele from This Morning and TV presenter Donal MacIntyre (pictured) got behind 'Getting it right'.
By law, all healthcare professionals have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' when treating people with a learning disability. Yet according to new research by Mencap, almost half of doctors (46%) and a third of nurses (37%) admit that people with a learning disability receive a poorer standard of healthcare than the rest of the population.
To help health professionals get it right, Mencap launched a series of resources for professionals, including guidance on how to implement the charter and a video interview with Jim Blair, a learning disabilities nurse.
Getting it right
On Tuesday 22 June, around 40 MPs and Peers showed their support for the ‘Getting it right' charter at a special launch event in Westminster, hosted by Mencap's president, Lord Rix, and Tom Clarke MP. Members of Mencap's learning disability panel shared their thoughts on the evening in a blog.
In Northern Ireland more than 60 people attended a launch event for the charter. There was also a petition signing at the Kennedy Centre in Belfast and an awareness day at Belfast Metropolitan College.
In Wales, Mencap Cymru held a reception to launch 5 web videos on annual health checks for people with a learning disability. And Mencap's royal patron, the Countess of Wessex, visited Bangor University, which has a growing relationship with Mencap Cymru.
The Countess met members of the university's psychology and sports science departments who have been involved in PhDs and other research projects linked to Mencap Cymru. She also met the football team for people with a learning disability that represented Mencap Cymru at a tournament in Switzerland.
Esther Foreman, Mencap's campaigns manager, said: "We would like to thank everyone that took part in Learning Disability Week and supported the launch of 'Getting it right'. Your campaigning has sent a powerful message that people with a learning disability deserve equal rights to healthcare."
Go to www.mencap.org.uk/gettingitright to watch a campaign film, download the 'Getting it right' charter and ask your health authority to support the campaign