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November 9, 2011

A programme to improve the privacy and dignity of patients with learning disabilities has been named as a winner at the prestigious Nursing Times Awards 2011.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT), supported by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), won the ‘Enhancing Patient Dignity’ category for their ‘Look at My Ability, Not My Disability’ programme at the national awards in London.

Philippa Pordes, Privacy and Dignity Matron at MCHFT, explains: “As part of the project, acute services were adjusted to ensure that they met the needs of our patients with learning disabilities. We introduced individualised care plans, picture pathway information leaflets, pictorial menus and training from ‘actors’ with learning disabilities.

“We have also implemented an electronic flagging system which ensures that staff know when someone with a learning disability is admitted, so that they can adjust services accordingly, as well as an electronic care pathway. This pathway ensures that nursing and medical staff have clear guidance, and contains features such as a pain assessment tool for those patients who may not be able to ask for pain relief.”

Andy Styring, Director of Operations for CWP, said: “This award is fully deserved by the staff from both Trusts, whose attitude and commitment make a difference to people’s lives every day. CWP are committed to improving health and wellbeing by providing innovative and excellent services and this scheme is further evidence of that.”

Tracy Bullock, Chief Executive of MCHFT, added: “This scheme has improved patient outcomes, experience and quality of life, and winning the award is proof that initiatives such as this which we are implementing are of real benefit to those who we care for.

“It is a fantastic achievement for us to have won this award. Staff from both Trusts have worked extremely hard to develop the scheme, and to win against seven other projects in our category is deserved recognition for our nurses. I am very proud of what we have achieved, and look forward to continue working together to improve the health outcomes and experiences for our patients.”