Trust launches five-year plan to help people with learning disabilities

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new five-year plan to help people with learning disabilities, as well as their families and carers, in Tameside and Glossop get the right support when they need it.

The Ashton-based Trust provides mental health and learning disability services for people across Greater Manchester.

It supports 1,800 people with learning disabilities every year along with their families and carers, delivering a wide range of services in hospital wards and outpatients, schools and colleges, workplaces, nursing homes and day centres; as well as supporting 1,200 GP practices and over 50 partner organisations.

Jeremy Bentham, Pennine Care’s associate director for learning disabilities, said: “Many people with learning disabilities have exciting and happy lives, but lots of people have difficult lives. We know that people with a learning disability may have worse physical health, are more likely to have mental health problems and can spend longer in hospital than needed.

“Our plan is our promise to the people we support to give them the best care, involve them in all our decisions, give people the chance to lead a happy life and involve our teams in improving services.”

Chief executive at Pennine Care, Claire Molloy, added: “We want to maximise people’s chances of a happy life through being part of the community, strong friendships, trying new things and finding paid work. We also want to address health inequalities and, with the pandemic having profoundly adverse effects on people with learning disabilities, the timing is very poignant.”

One of the people that the team, which includes nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and psychologists, supports is Frances Banton (pictured below).

Frances, 36, said: “The team have helped me for more than 12 years; they have helped me to stay healthy and give me help when I need it.”

Sadly Frances’s mum past away four years ago, she added: “The team helped me after my mum passed away to live by myself and found me my personal assistant. They have helped get me to hospital for operations and appointments and been there when I needed them the most; I know they will always be there for me in the future.”

Another person to receive support is 26-year-old Saamia Ahmed (main picture). Ten years ago, Saamia had an asthma attack that resulted in her brain being starved of oxygen and caused a brain injury. The resulting impact of Saamia’s injury was that she was unable to walk, talk, eat or care for herself.

Saamia has since made huge steps in her rehabilitation journey and thanks the learning disability team for being a big part of her rehabilitation.

“To get to where I am today I've had to work really hard and push myself physically, emotionally and mentally," she said.

"This couldn't have been possible without my amazing team and my family. They’ve helped me immensely over the years through physical therapy, rebound and hydrotherapy.

“The team is really friendly and easy to get on with. Over the years they have made me feel at ease, even the toughest times. They make all my sessions exciting and fun and I always look forward to seeing them. Through these sessions I have improved my mobility and gained strength, all of which is helping me towards my goal of being more independent.”

Pennine Care’s learning disability strategy, which includes an easy read version, can be found at www.penninecare.nhs.uk/ld

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