Learning Disability Nurses not Hearses

At Harrow Mencap we use campaigning as a tool to improve the lives of the citizens with learning disabilities in and around Harrow.

The latest Public Health England report has estimated that 6.3 times more deaths occurred among people with learning disabilities than the general population between 21 March and 5 June 2020.

Deeply concerned about this tragic spike during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the already higher death rates of people with learning disabilities than the national average, we re-launched our campaign for another learning disability (LD) nurse at Northwick Park Hospital.

After our successful campaign to lobby North West London Healthcare Trust to recruit another LD nurse which involved a petition signed by over 600 people and gaining support from the local MP Gareth Thomas, we have used this as a springboard to try and raise awareness of the shortage of LD nurses across the UK.
The Harrow Mencap Self-Advocate Group first started their local LD Nurse campaign in 2019.
Harrow Mencap self-advocates enjoyed meeting Hellen Odiembo, their new LD nurse

Gareth Thomas MP on our local campaign for another LD Nurse:

“Hundreds of Harrow residents called for another dedicated disability nurse at Northwick Park Hospital and I am glad to see the LNWH Trust now committed to this vital recruitment. While the dedicated Learning Disability nurse will provide care and support to those with learning disabilities, they will also provide additional support for many other patients at Northwick Park. I was proud to play a part in this excellent campaign from Harrow Mencap.”

According to the latest figures from NHS digital, there has been a 40% drop in the number of registered LD Nurses in NHS posts from 5,368 in 2010 to 3,223 in 2020.

Given the scale of the challenge, we are so proud about what we have been able to achieve on the national stage so far. So far, we have gained support from over 20 MPs from West London and across the country, including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and different parties including the Conservative, Labour, Scottish National and Democratic Unionist Parties.

We have already made steps to do this as we have worked with the MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman to table an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament on the shortage of LD nurses. The motion has won support from 11 MPs so far.

You can see the EDM on the parliamentary website by clicking here

Learning Disability Nurses not Hearses, Bob Blackman-min
Our achievements during this campaign have gained national recognition from the UK Parliament. We are so proud to share that Learning disability nurses not hearses were crowned a winner of the Digital Campaign of the Year Award in the Your UK Parliament Awards 2021.

What you can do

We want to you to be part of our campaign to help make MPs aware of the chronic shortage of LD nurses. You can do this by using the draft letter that we have created. We have prepared two separate drafts.

Please be part of our campaign and make the shortage of LD nurses a priority on the national agenda.

Together, our voices are stronger in making both politicians and healthcare professionals recognise the urgent need to address the healthcare inequality that exists in our society between people with and without learning disabilities.