NHS staff 'lack understanding' of learning disabilities

Medical staff member chats to patient Image copyright Getty Images

NHS staff "lack understanding" of learning disabilities in residential facilities, according to a new report.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) also found poor record-keeping and environmental issues.

Overall across services, it found people with learning disabilities were treated with dignity and respect and access to services was good.

It surveyed all seven health boards in Wales and inspected teams and residential services.

The National Learning Disability Thematic Review said health communication passports, to help hospital staff know about a person's individual needs, were in place for many people.

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

'Issues around management'

But it said residential services required "significant improvement", and made 22 recommendations.

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."

More on this story