Speaking in the Welsh Parliament yesterday, Shadow Minister for Social Justice and North Wales MS Mark Isherwood highlighted the need for learning disability services to be developed across Wales.
Mr Isherwood, Chair of the Cross Party Group on Disability in the last Senedd, who is working with Disability Wales to re-establish the Group in the new Senedd, referred to the lack of Children’s learning disability services in Wales and report findings that student learning disability nursing numbers have remained static for the last three years.
Calling for a Welsh Government Statement on support for people with learning disabilities, he said:
“Three weeks ago, the Royal College of Nursing launched its report on Learning Disability Nursing, Connecting for Change.
“The report highlights a significant decline in learning disability nurses across the UK.
“The RCN states that some of this reduction is due to the positive shift in the support for people with learning disabilities from a medical model to a social care model.
“Although they believe many learning disability nurses have moved on with people with learning disabilities, and are now providing skilled support in social care settings, there is not the data about this workforce and there is no government strategy for planning or developing the work of nurses in social care.
“The report also found significant differences across the four UK countries.
“For example, many counties in England have Children’s Community Learning Disability Teams with learning disability nurses.
“However, there is a lack of Children’s learning disability services in Wales.
“Specific to Wales, the report has highlighted that student learning disability nursing numbers have remained static for the last three years and that there is only one learning disability nurse at Nurse Consultant level across Wales.
“I therefore call for a Statement detailing the Welsh Government’s response to the RCN’s call for a workforce plan to accompany the strategic development of learning disability services across Wales over the next decade?”
Responding, the Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths MS, said:
“II know the Minister is currently analysing the report to which you refer—the workforce plan from the RCN. I do know that several of the health boards in Wales have undertaken specific training in relation to learning disability with their nurses. I know there was some significant work done at the Maelor hospital, for instance. So I think what is important is that that support is right across Wales, and not just by one or two health boards.”