Last week Sir Jonathan Michael produced an independent government-commissioned report into the access of healthcare for people with learning disabilities. It called for mandatory training for nurses working with such patients.
NT: Is there are need to increase training?
AN: We definitely need to strengthen training. Part of this will be about getting messages through to general nurses and mental health nurses. If the training is not there, their [leaning disability nursing] skills will be diluted and the most vulnerable people are going to get less of a good service.
NT: What work is the RCN doing in this area?
AN: This is one of the biggest priority areas for the RCN. We are taking a focussed look. We need to strengthen training and are lobbying our partnership organisations. It is about getting the message across to general nurses and mental health nurses who need skilling up.
NT: What is your opinion of the report?
AN: I think the report gives a strong indication to government of what needs to happen next. A lot of learning disability nurses were involved in this and the work that they do has been reinforced by this inquiry. The fact that health minister Ivan Lewis has also said that the recommendations must be taken forward is music to my ears.
Interview with Helen Mooney