Hull emergency care workers inspire national campaign

Liz and Amy

Emergency Department (ED) staff from Hull have inspired a new nationwide promotional campaign centred on patients with a learning disability.

The Learning Disability pledge is being promoted by the Makaton Charity as part of Learning Disability Awareness Week (17-23 June 2019), and is based on a piece of work which originated in the ED at Hull Royal Infirmary.

Authored by consultant in emergency medicine, Dr Liz Herrieven and play specialist, Laura Burton, their ED Pledge for people with a learning disability has been in place for some time, with scores of colleagues and co-workers in the department signing up. 

Having spotted this piece of work on Twitter, the Makaton Charity got in touch and now Liz and Laura’s work has laid the foundations for the LD Pledge, a national movement which seeks to raise awareness of the needs and rights of people with a learning disability in accessing equitable health care. 

Dr Herrieven says:

“Being mum to a child with learning disabilities I’ve seen what does and what doesn’t work when it comes to hospital visits. It’s the simple things that make a difference. 

“Laura and I wanted to remind people about those simple things, which can immeasurably help the ED journey for someone with learning disabilities and their family, which don’t take much time or effort, really, but are just difficult to remember when we’re really busy.”

Dr Liz Herrieven’s 13-year-old  daughter, Amy, has Down syndrome and autism, so the pair know only too well how important it is for patients with a learning disability to feel safe, listened to, and to understand what’s going on. The LD Pledge asks all NHS workers to commit to eight simple acts which could make all the difference to a patient with a learning disability, such as reading their health passport and finding them somewhere quiet to wait. 

Emergency workers Liz and Laura both feature in a short YouTube video which the Makaton Charity has also released this week, which urges all healthcare professionals to find out more and to take the LD Pledge themselves.

Meanwhile, Amy and Liz continue to campaign vigorously to ensure people with a learning disability are treated as individuals first and foremost.

Find out more and download the pledge at https://www.makaton.org/blog/at-work/LDPledge

[Rachel Johnson – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]

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