'LD Nurse Now' Campaign
During regular outreach around the borough, Healthwatch Harrow has engaged with local people with learning disabilities, their families and carers.
They told us that having a specialist Learning Disability Nurse on-site at the hospital is an essential and ‘basic’ need for them and their families. We heard accounts of nurses assisting with speech, and helping to liaise with clinical staff.
Out of the hospital, we also heard that the nurse has offered an ‘understanding, listening ear’ to those self-isolating during Covid-19. The importance of this support cannot be understated.
However, we have also heard that there are not enough of these specialist nurses in place. Also, there is a lack of awareness about the role, for example no mention in letters from the hospital.
Local Campaign Launched...
Local people have recently come together through their 'LD Nurse Now' campaign, which calls for urgent action on staffing levels. This comes in the light of recent data from the CQC, which suggests that people with a learning disability are significantly more affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Click here to find out more.
As part of the campaign, a Harrow Mencap self-advocate group has prepared a letter to the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, who run Northwick Park Hospital. Click here to read.
A petition has also been launched. Click here to view.
Ash Verma, Chair of Healthwatch Harrow says:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly had an adverse impact on all of us and health inequalities have become even more exacerbated. There has been a 134% increase in the deaths of people with learning difficulties and our BAME communities that make-up over half of our population in Harrow, too have had disproportionately higher levels of death. The impact of such tragedies will clearly be felt for a long time by their loved ones.
In view of this, on behalf of Healthwatch Harrow, the local voice for health and social care services, we strongly believe that a dedicated learning disability nurse at Northwick Park hospital would help stop avoidable deaths of people with learning disabilities and provide them with much needed support. Furthermore, the reasonable adjustments that a Learning Disability nurse would bring will not only help people with learning disabilities, but also older people and those for whom English is not their first language."