In the spirit of 'co-production' it felt only fitting that on learning disability week we will shout from the rooftops our relationship with the wonderful organisations that we have been working with over the last two years. They have supported us to enhance and develop our service which supports the wider population of people with learning disabilities in Liverpool (and wider afield) who come into acute care as an inpatient/outpatient or the emergency department.
We have asked People First Merseyside and Mencap Liverpool to help us run a stall within our hospital. So on Friday 22nd June we will come together, chat about their lives and our service together. Luckily for us, they've agreed to join us.
What do we think "Co-production” actually mean? Is it a buzz word to justify why decisions are made for people with learning disabilities? Or is it true collaborative working to improve care and engagement? Well we think so because:
We actively engage with individuals and local advocacy groups. For over two years the Royal has held well attended, bi-monthly learning disability steering groups. In attendance are staff from within our hospital, leading figures for learning disabilities in the Merseyside area, learning disability nurses, CCG representation, patient council members, parent/carers and most importantly of all, people with learning disabilities.
The meetings are honest, raucous, opinionated and always fun. Ranging from one of the advocates taking over chair duties, to extensive debates on how we can improve our services. Our organisation have made clinical decisions based on the feedback within our group.
Members of 'People First Merseyside' were given access to the new build with a tour of the new hospital. They were able to air their fears and concerns, which ranged from concerns with floor to ceiling windows, signage and the fear of single rooms which hopefully alleviated their fears and anxiety and feedback to others members of 'People First Merseyside'. They also wrote their own blog about it
Learning Disability Champions within our Trust meet quarterly, and in January witnessed three amazing presentations by members of People First on their previous treatment within health care, there was not a dry eye in the house. This fitted completely with Mencap's 'Treat Me Well' campaign. Most importantly, it shaped the care we provide at ward level led from the inspired Champions.
The Royal is part of a wider local acute network group with 12 local acute Trusts representation across Cheshire and Merseyside. The network understood the importance of training staff and commissioned ‘Mencap Liverpool’ to help coproduce and design our learning disability awareness training programme.
The Learning Disability Team here at the Royal are proud to have trained over 2600 staff, students and volunteers in the last two years, and training remains one of our core values going forwards.
‘Mencap Liverpool’ have also worked with the acute network to design an 'easy read' hospital information pack. We provide this with all of our patients with learning disabilities when they are admitted into hospital. The information used is accessible 'easy read' language with pictorial explanations. We are very proud of this booklet
So, co-production can work and with a willingness to listen to the "experts by experience", good humoured dialogue and frank open dialogue we can work together to improve healthcare in general hospitals and make a difference.
The Royal in Liverpool understands that to provide a service that we are proud of, we must work with people with learning disabilities at every step of the decision making process. Will continue to engage, listen and be shaped by the lived experience to hopefully lead the way with acute care for people with learning disabilities."
Ged Jennings and Serena Jones
Acute Learning Disabilities Liaison Nurse
Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals
Phone: 0151 706 4602