We want Dudley Group Of Hospitals to employ a team of Learning Disability Liaison Nurses.

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Dudley Group of Hospitals (DGOH) has just one Learning Disability Liaison Nurse, Jacqui Howells. This post is a Monday  - Friday position 8am -  4pm. Jacqui works well in excess of these hours as she is clearly very passionate about the role and the patients she supports.

It is a vital post, that is required 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,  365 days a year having just Jacqui is insufficient unless DGOH can guarantee the need for her service can be confined to Monday - Friday 8am - 4pm and can be suspended when she is off sick or on annual leave or away from the trust on other business.

Parents and family members, care and support staff often don't have a voice when they are trying to support someone with a Learning Disability and or Autism through a hospital appointment, admission and discharge. The role of the Learning Disability Liaison Nurse to effectively advocate and communicate the additional needs of the patient to medical staff and to then communicate back to the patient and family and support staff  is vital in achieving great care, positive outcomes and effective treatment plans and successful discharges.

Currently if someone who has a Learning Disability and needs admission to hospital on an evening, during the night, on a weekend, a bank holiday or during Jacqui's time away from the trust there is ZERO support available.

Hospitals can be a very scary and intimidating place for many people but more so for people who have a Learning Disability and /or autism and their fear and anxiety can manifest in unwanted behavior as they try to communicate that fear and lack of understanding as to why they are there, and what is going to be done to them and how long they are going to be there and if it will hurt.

168 hours in a week: This requires a dedicated team not one person. A team that is physically on site 7 days a week for the main hospital clinic hours and at least on call and available by telephone for the other hours. 

My own son has required the support of the Learning Disability Liaison Nurse on several occasions this year twice it hasn't been available, once was an admission on a Sunday and then a problem with medical staff on a bank holiday Monday, and once when she was away from the trust on leave, during this time both my sons' GP and Social Worker tried to make contact with Jacqui, only to find in her absence there was no back up available.

Dudley Voices for Choice are a user led charitable organisation that supports people with learning disabilities and autism to speak up for themselves. Dudley Voices for Choice support this petition. (information about this group can be found at Info on Dudley Voices for Choice )

So please take a moment to sign this petition to show Dudley Group of Hospitals how this vital role needs to be a team not a single person and that it isn't a luxury but a necessity to enable shorter, smoother and more cost effective hospital appointment times, admissions, surgeries and discharge plans for people who have a Learning Disability and or Autism.



The DGOH own website says this: (Which shows they recognise the importance of the role)

We aim to deliver high quality, person-centred, safe acute hospital services for people with learning disabilities, and to support this, the Trust have a dedicated senior nurse Jacqui Howells, Learning Disabilities Liaison Nurse.

Her recently introduced role has helped to improve the Trust’s provision for patients with learning disabilities and their families, making it easier for patients with learning disabilities to access hospital services.

The new post also gives patients with learning disabilities an advocate to offer advice and guidance, not only to the patients themselves, but also to the staff involved in providing their care.

Specifically, she  supports patients with learning disabilities, their families/carers, and hospital staff working with patients with learning disabilities to:

Plan for admission, treatment and discharge.
Provide specialist advice, and guidance on the provision of reasonable adjustments to ensure fair access and outcomes, and the management of complex or difficult situations.
Making reasonable adjustments to ensure fair access and outcomes could include:

Offering first and last appointments or double appointments.
Providing food and drink for family members or carers.
Providing beds or chairs for family members and carers.
Using a Hospital Passport to share information about the patient and their health.
Providing accessible information (such as easy read information sheets, a hospital communication book, photographs, signs and symbols, and jargon-free language).
Ensuring effective care that involves the patient and their family/carer in the decision-making process around treatment and discharge.


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