NHS staff “lack understanding” of learning disabilities, says watchdog

NHS staff “lack understanding” of learning disabilities in residential facilities, a new report has revealed.

The healthcare watchdog also found poor record-keeping and environmental issues.

It studied seven UK health boards and inspected teams and residential services.

It found that across all services, people with learning disabilities were treated with dignity and respect and access to services was good.

It further praised the fact that specialist learning disability liaison nurses were in place in some health boards.

But it said residential services required “significant improvement”, and made 22 recommendations to boards.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) chief executive Kate Chamberlain, said: “It is pleasing to see the good care being provided to people with learning disabilities by community health teams.

“However, we noted that NHS-provided residential care for people with learning disabilities is in need of significant improvement.

“We discovered issues around management, staffing and environment, which health boards should have already known about and resolved.

“It may be that social care is better placed to provide these residential services and we are aware that some health boards are beginning to work with local partners to explore this further.”