New training will be rolled out across NHS Wales for all healthcare staff in a public-facing role to support people with learning disabilities who are accessing services the Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan has announced.
The first phase of the Paul Ridd Learning Disability Awareness Training Programme for healthcare staff, the Foundation Level training, will start on April 1st and will be a key driver in ‘reducing health inequalities for people with a learning disability, and is a key outcome within the Welsh Government’s 2018 Learning Disability Improving Lives programme. This first phase, championed by the Paul Ridd Foundation and Mencap Cymru has been a collaboration between Improvement Cymru together with the Welsh Government, the Paul Ridd Foundation, people with a learning disability, the University of South Wales, health services and the third sector.
The aim of the training is to improve knowledge and raise awareness of the issues that people with a learning disability face when accessing healthcare services by enabling healthcare staff and providers to understand the specific needs of the individual and to make reasonable adjustments that will meet those needs.
In recognition of the ongoing pressure faced by healthcare staff and the continued challenges of the pandemic, the foundation level training will be provided via an online programme. To complement this training, the Paul Ridd Foundation will continue to offer additional, bespoke training to healthcare providers who request it.
Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:
Everyone has the right to access health care services and it’s important as a government we ensure that no one faces any obstacles that, with a little thought and planning, can be removed. I am pleased to make this announcement today and I am grateful to The Paul Ridd foundation for their ongoing work in raising awareness of the barriers sometimes faced by people with learning disabilities when they try to access services. I also want to pay tribute to NHS Wales staff who provide vital care and who will now undertake this training to further support people with learning disabilities. I intend to explore options for rolling out this important training to social care staff across Wales.
Jonathan Ridd and Jayne Nicholls, founders and trustees of the Paul Ridd Foundation, said:
We are delighted to have worked with the NHS in Wales and Welsh Government to have produced this Learning Disability Awareness Training. Since Paul's death in 2009, we have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the inequalities faced by people with a learning disability when accessing healthcare. This training is a key milestone for us to have reached, as now healthcare staff in a public-facing role within the NHS in Wales will have to do the Paul Ridd Learning Disability Awareness Training.
This resource will give staff some awareness of the barriers faced by people with a learning disability when accessing healthcare, and will provide the tools to remove these barriers.
We look forward to this training being further developed and expanded with the second and third tiers.