Category Archives: Learning disabilities

Learning Disability nurse vacancies?

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This post is by Fiona Rich, senior Lecturer in Learning Disability Nursing at Birmingham City University.

I am disappointed to learn that our first year student nurses are yet again being told that there are no jobs available for learning disability nurses, because in fact there are many vacancies for learning disability nurses – just Google ‘Learning Disability Nursing Vacancies’ and see for yourself.

The NMC have recently re-written competencies for entry into Learning Disability Nursing… they would not have done so if the role was going to be obsolete.  In addition, this university alone was commissioned for 35 Learning Disability Degree students by the Strategic Health Authority for our next intake… again, they would not spend money training student nurses if they intended to make the role obsolete.  The Strategic Health Authority only commission student places for the jobs available within the NHS, but only 45% of learning disability nurses work in the NHS – the other 55% work in the private, voluntary and independent sector.  This means that there is actually a shortfall of 55% of learning disability nurses to meet the demands throughout the UK.

All of our students get jobs when they qualify – whether it is in the NHS or other sectors is irrelevant as they still provide the skills needed to support this vulnerable group of people which is growing in demand not decreasing.  Many people with learning disabilities are living to an older age and therefore have very specific needs.  In addition, people with LD tend to acquire the problems associated with older adults (eg Alzheimer’s, Dementia, physical disorders and diseases such as sensory defects, cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses) at a much earlier age than the general population so there is a growing need for very specialist learning disability nurses.

Sadly, I have been hearing this misinformed argument about the future of learning disability nursing for decades but there is still a demand for such a role and it grieves me to see genuinely dedicated learning disability nurses dissuaded from qualifying in this branch.  I would urge all first year learning disability nursing students to think carefully about who will support this vulnerable group of people if there were no learning disability nurses in the future because the very specific needs of individuals with learning disabilities are not going away.


Cruel world

The events in Bristol must be a source of shame and disgust to us all. I make no attempt to condone the actions of these appalling people but it got me wondering. If you take the conditions in that “hospital” must we fear similar events in the NHS?

A national company set up for profit, where workers seldom if ever meet the bosses, work long hours and are poorly paid, is it just Castlebeck or is this the future of the NHS?

Lack of support, control and training can affect the morale of workers leaving them embittered and shattering their self esteem.

I once heard a nurse jokingly (I hope) remark that “this job would be okay if it weren’t for the patients”

When demoralised staff begin to view those in their care as “The Problem” then resentment and bitterness can take over.

I stress again I am not trying to defend these people and I hope their prison sentences are long, although Ken Clarke would probably prefer community sentences. That’s a thought now, what service could these evil people do to the community? I just think that where money is the basis for all care I hope never to get sick.

PS This is the link to the Care Quality Commission inspection reports on Winterbourne View

“Let “Her” Have it”!

(Post author Mark Jukes from BCU LD team*) 

Death row inmate Teresa Lewis is pictured in this undated photograph, September 23, 2010. Lewis, who is convicted in the October 2002 hired killings of her husband and stepson, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday, September 23, and would be the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly 100 years. UPI/Saveteresalewis.org Photo via Newscom

Does this quote ring any bells?

Well, to some of us familiar will remember this was the famous alleged line (although it was “Let Him Have It”), from Derek Bentley which sealed his fate at the gallows in 1953 for shooting a policeman.

Teresa Lewis died early today after being given a lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Centre.

The first woman to be executed in Virginia since 1912,and the first in the USA for 5 years,and a woman who had a borderline mental retardation (USA terminology),with an IQ of 72 and additionally diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder.

In the UK, the sentence handed down to Derek Bentley in 1953 produced outrage over his execution, although he was labelled as being illiterate and of low intelligence – he wasn’t deemed as being “Feeble-minded” under the then Mental Deficiency Act. He was granted a Royal Pardon in respect of the sentence of death,and in 1998,the Court of Appeal quashed Bentley’s conviction for murder.

1. In an EU protest,the ambassador to the US wrote: “We consider the execution of people with mental disorders of all types is contrary to minimum standards of human rights”.

2. Contemporary opinion does not seem to learn from cases such as Bentley where the issue of Capacity and Aquiesence to crime is particularly of note with people who have learning disabilities.

Instead we have politicians who refuse to budge on giving a reprieve to what the rest of us consider as “unsafe” convictions.

In my opinion this flies in the face of human rights and ignores this womans vulnerabilities in the cause of ‘justice’ – I deplore this.

JARRATT, VA - NOVEMBER 10:  A correctional officer directs a driver outside the Greensville Correctional Center November 10, 2009 near Jarratt, Virginia. Condemned DC sniper John Allen Muhammad is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 9 p.m. at the center for the shooting death of Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station in the Manassas area of Virginia on October 9, 2002.   (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Reference:

1. www.ccrc.gov.uk/CCRC_Uploads/Bentley_Derek_-30_7_98.pdf

2. www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/09/24/us-state-ignores-outrage-with-execution-of-retarded-woman-115875-22583855/

(* Sorry – ongoing tech problems prevent me labelling the post author correctly)