Learning disability nurse numbers fall as demand rises

The number of learning disability nurses in the UK continues to fall despite increasing numbers of patients who would benefit from their support, DoH guidance shows.

Around 210,000 people in England have severe learning disabilities, and 1.2 million have mild to moderate learning disabilities, according to 'Good practice in learning disability nursing'.

But the number of nurses registered to practise in learning disability in the UK fell from 25,574 in 2001/2 to 24,604 in 2004/5, the document says.

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: ‘Learning disability nurses make a vital contribution to enabling individuals to have quality of life and maintain as much independence as can be achieved.

‘However, their numbers are currently decreasing and work is needed, through workforce planning, to ensure that we are able to achieve a successful balance of care.’

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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