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Learning disability nurses struggle with staff cuts

Only 10% of nurses have enough time to deliver proper care to patients with learning disabilities, after consistent staff cuts, a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey showed today.

There are currently 1.5 million people in the UK living with a learning disability, but there has been a 21% drop in learning disability nursing posts since 2010, leading to nurses have more limited time for care. More than half (53%) of nurses surveyed said that people with learning disabilities are unable to access appropriate care in the right setting and 95% of those questioned said there simply aren't enough services in the community to provide sufficient care and support to those who need it.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and the general secretary of the RCN, said: “There is clearly a shortage in this specialist of branch of nursing, particularly in England, and the consequences are all too plain to see. The cuts aren't just affecting patients - the dedicated and committed learning disability nurses who strive to provide the very best care are also feeling the brunt.

"These nurses are at the forefront of health and social care integration, and need to be valued and supported. “It's absolutely essential that people with learning disabilities have access to care and support that allows them to live safely within the community but there just aren't enough services to make this a reality. When patient safety is at risk action needs to be taken immediately.The survey shows there needs to be much greater action from the government, as well as more resources, if there is going to be the right level of care and support in the community."