Campaigners address their concerns that hospitals need to improve the standards for patients with learning disabilities.

Six advocates from Harrow Mencap, a learning disability charity, issued an open letter addressing their concerns of the current system in place at Northwick Park Hospital for patients with learning disabilities.

The letter was handed to Donna Adcock, deputy chief nurse of London North West Hospitals (LNWH), and asked for several improvements, including a learning disability nurse to be issued specifically for Northwick Park Hospital.

Currently the hospital shares one learning disability nurse with three hospitals around north west London.

A request to build a changing places toilet at the hospital was also included, to make it easier for disabled people and their carers to use the toilets when visiting the hospital.

Deven Pillay, chief executive at Harrow Mencap said: “We are proud of our self-advocates group who delivered the letter to Northwick Park Hospital.

“The campaign action was part of Activism Week and our Treat me Well campaign which is campaigning for a more inclusive and accessible healthcare system for people with learning disabilities.

“On average, people with a learning disability die 16 years earlier than the general population. We are delighted that the hospital has already responded to our suggestions and invited our advocates to a patient forum meeting.”

Donna Adcock Deputy Chief Nurse of London North West University called it a “pleasure” to hear from the advocates and that the suggestions are being discussed:

“Hearing about the experiences of patients with learning disabilities is a valuable and important way for us to understand more about how we can improve their care, and I am grateful that the group were willing to take the time to talk about this with me.

“The advocates made a number of helpful suggestions, which we are already discussing here at LNWH. One thing we can do immediately is to involve patients with learning disabilities much more in the way we make improvements to services.

“For this reason, I’m delighted to say that we have invited advocates from Harrow Mencap to attend our patient experience forum.

“This forum will be important in helping us develop our new patient experience strategy, and we are keen to ensure that it reflects the needs of our patients with learning disabilities.

“I look forward to continuing the conversation with the self-advocates and have no doubt that it will be an important part of improving our patient experience.”

The full open letter can be viewed here.