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Physios could play crucial role following launch of new learning disability strategy

11 July 2013 - 11:09am

Physiotherapists specialising in learning disabilities should act as a ‘conduit’ between service users and mainstream healthcare workers.

edward-stanton

Edward Stanton features as a case study in the strategy. He won the ‘patient ambassador’ category in NHS Great Glasgow and Clyde’s 2012 chairman’s awards for working with senior clinicians to improve the care of people with learning disabilities in hospital.

That was the message from Angie McManus, a physio who manages the Perth and Kinross multidisciplinary learning disability service for NHS Tayside, in response to the Scottish Government’s new 10-year strategy for improving the lives of people with learning disabilities.

Miss McManus welcomed the publication of the strategy, The Keys to life: Improving the quality of life for people with learning disabilities.

‘As physios, we will be heavily involved in helping our clients’ access services with our healthcare partners,’ Miss McManus said. ‘This strategy has important messages for non-specialists, such as GPs, nurses, allied health professionals and community health partnerships.

The 162-page strategy, which contains 52 recommendations, notes: ‘There is no doubt good practice in primary care, but routine exposure to the needs of people with learning disabilities, because of the low numbers per average practice, makes it harder to build up expertise.

‘Overall, these issues contribute to reduced life expectancy, reduced cognitive functioning, reduced quality of life, and disability and pain.’

Meanwhile, the Public Health England-linked Learning Disabilities Observatory estimates there are more than 1.1 million people with learning disabilities in England.

Its People with Learning Disabilities in England 2012 report reveals that people with learning disabilities die 24 years earlier than their counterparts in the general population, when median ages are considered.

  • A learning disabilities observatory is now being created in Scotland.





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