Six adults with a learning disability are helping to transform the care for others in Lincolnshire, as part of a new paid role in local health services.
The new experts by experience have been recruited by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) to help raise awareness and understanding of learning disabilities and how simple changes can make a big difference when people need to access local health services.
Over 30 local service users applied for the new roles and each of the Trust’s new experts by experience have first-hand experience of using local specialist learning disability services. They will be helping train other health professionals and support and encourage people with a learning disability to get involved in improving Lincolnshire health services.
Fionn Morven, Learning Disabilities Service Manager at LPFT was really pleased that the Trust had been able to offer paid employment for people with learning disabilities, she said:
“It is really important for us as a service that we continue to challenge people’s perceptions of learning disabilities and transform the care available. We’ve done a lot over the last few years to create a new service model that focuses on people living well in their communities. Being able to offer paid employment for some of our ex-service users is another massive step for us.
“By making simple adjustments to our normal recruitment process we’ve been able to support our six new colleagues to not only to help us challenge perceptions of learning disabilities through our new training, but also offer a meaningful occupation that gives them as individuals a real sense of purpose and belonging.”
Nadeen, one of the Trust’s new experts by experience is really excited to start her new role and said: “I’m really pleased I’ve got this job, it’s really made me feel like I’m worth something and that someone understands and supports me. I’m really looking forward to getting started.”
As part of this week’s Learning Disability Awareness Week (18-24 June), the experts by experience will be holding a number of stands with other health professionals from the Trust’s learning disability service in local hospitals and supermarkets raising awareness of learning disabilities, the specialist health services available and the importance of regular health checks.
“LPFT’s Learning Disability Service works with service users, families, social care and health partners to enable adults with a learning disability and/or autism living in Lincolnshire to receive the right care in the right place at the right time,” explains Dr Dave Baker, GP and Chair, South West Lincolnshire CCG. “As commissioners we are proud of the fantastic work the team at LPFT is doing, including the introduction of the experts by experience, and it seems right that we should use Learning Disability Week to highlight this.”
During the week the learning disability team will be also promoting stories from other local people that have been sharing their experiences on a national stage, as part of NHS England’s Transforming Care project.
Wayne and Lorraine who have both used learning disability services in Lincolnshire, have been talking about how health services are changing for people with a learning disability and how projects in Lincolnshire have helped them live in homes and not hospitals and improved their health and quality of life.
People can watch Wayne and Lorraine’s stories on the NHS England website (www.england.nhs.uk/learning-disabilities), alongside others stories from across England, or on the LPFT website here www.lpft.nhs.uk/learning-disabilities.