Statement from BILD Health Advisor Jim Blair following the inquest into the death of Richard Handley:
Richard's avoidable death like all such deaths is very disturbing and action must be taken to stop these happening again. Every day, three people with a learning disability die avoidably in England. There should be no more.
Only with experts by lived experience working alongside health professionals in service design, evaluation, inception, training and evolution will real change happen.
Learning disability nurses working across all health settings enhance and save lives. Yet there is a significant reduction in their numbers at the very time we need them most to ensure deaths like Richard do not happen.
We need more learning disability nurses working in across healthcare settings to address, challenge, shape, model, and deliver effective care in a timely manner to avoid missing signs of ill health. These nurses in partnership with others across health, social and education sectors can ensure reasonable adjustments are made, the mental capacity act adhered to and the human right to care and treatment when needed happens for people with a learning disability.
Annual health checks available for people with a learning disability from the age of 14 must be carried out in primary care with adequate timely referrals made to ensure the best possible health outcomes for a person and follow up checks actually take place.
Behind every behaviour change we must all consider a physical or mental health issue for each person with a learning disability. We can all do this today and it will enhance and save lives now.
12 February 2018