By Dr Rachel Ann Jones C.Psychol AFBPsS, National Learning Disability Programme Lead.
“The values, knowledge and skills that healthcare staff will acquire through completing this vital training will really make a difference to the experience of patients with a learning disability. This training is a legacy to Paul, and we are grateful for the support of Welsh Government in making this mandatory.”
– The Paul Ridd Foundation
During Learning Disability Awareness week (19-25 June), we wanted to highlight the Paul Ridd Learning Disability Awareness training. Anyone working in a public facing role within healthcare in NHS Wales will have seen it pop-up in their electronic staff record.
Paul Ridd lived in Wales, he had a learning disability and in 2009 died an avoidable death following multiple healthcare system failings; he was fifty-four years old. Since losing Paul, his family and others have campaigned for better training and support for healthcare staff to deliver safer care to people with a learning disability. Paul’s story is sadly not an isolated case. Research tells us that people with a learning disability experience health inequalities and die many years younger than you or I.
The training is an important foundational element of the Learning Disability Educational Framework for Healthcare Staff. Both the framework and the training were commissioned and developed by Improvement Cymru, as part of the Welsh Government Learning Disability Programme
The aim of the training and the framework is to support healthcare staff develop their own confidence and abilities to ensure that people with a learning disability have access to appropriate healthcare. Building knowledge, skills and competence across the workforce is a key action in reducing health inequalities for people with a learning disability.
The Paul Ridd Learning Disability Awareness training is mandatory for all public facing NHS Wales staff to complete. It can be undertaken via the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) or via the Learning@Wales site. It has been produced alongside people with a learning disability and key stakeholders from across health services and the third sector.
The training gives staff awareness of the barriers faced by people with learning disabilities when accessing healthcare. It covers topics including communication, understanding and responding to behaviour, the health needs of people with a learning disability, legal and policy issues.
We and Paul’s family hope the training will provide information for healthcare staff on what they need to know and do, in order to effectively identify and meet the health needs of people with learning disabilities. By empowering the workforce with improved knowledge, we are taking an undeniably positive step in reducing health inequalities that currently exist for people with learning disabilities.