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Tipping point: learning disabilities

Jenny Tinkler outlines the role of the Learning Disability Professional Senate, on which she sits.

Who remembers the BBC Panorama exposure of the horrific abuse of people with a learning disability at a private hospital in 2011? This marked a turning point for those of us in the field, as it finally made politicians sit up and notice how woefully inadequate some services were.
 
One fall-out from this scandal was the establishment of the Learning Disability Professional Senate, the first of its kind for any patient group in the UK. See http://bit.ly/2qQsYYZ.  The senate brings together professional leaders from across the UK to provide cross-professional collaboration and strategic advice and innovation to develop both mainstream and specialist services for children and adults with learning disabilities. 
 
The aim is to support the development of excellent health and social care services by providing a single voice through which NHS England, the Department of Health and other strategy leads can gain advice from, and communicate with, the collective voice of specialist health and social care practitioners. 
 
The senate’s membership includes representatives from various colleges and societies in the field. This includes the CSP, which is represented by the chairs of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists for People with Learning Disabilities (ACPPLD) and the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP). We have ensured that physiotherapy is included in key documents on ethics and effective specialist community team. We have also provided a briefing paper on the role of physiotherapy in response to NHS England’s Transforming Care for people with a Learning Disability. Senate also endorsed the development of a national strategy for postural management. It wants to ensure that the health inequalities suffered by people with a learning disability are addressed and will advocate for access to mainstream services. 
 
  • Jenny Tinkler is chair of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists for People with Learning Disabilities 

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