“This is a worrying time for all those who care about the health of people with learning disabilities and autism. There are chronic shortages of specialist learning disability nurses nationwide, and few new recruits. It is absolutely vital, to highlight this problem and to do whatever we can to encourage more people to choose the uniquely rewarding profession that is being a learning disability nurse.

People who choose to become a learning disability nurse have a very wide range of career choices open to them. I was one; my experiences nursing at the notorious Rampton Hospital led me to a lifelong personal commitment to getting people out of assessment and treatment units and back into the community, where they belong – a commitment which is part of the fabric of how Dimensions operates.

Everyone must play their part to support people with learning disabilities to have the health which is their human right. It is not acceptable that people with learning disabilities are so unlikely to have any form of cancer screening. It is not acceptable that so many cannot visit their GP because of a lack of basic reasonable adjustments. It is not acceptable that such a high proportion of people prescribed psychotropic medication have been on it for years without any meaningful review. We all – doctors and nurses, support workers, families, policymakers and other professionals – have a duty of care to change this awful situation. To close the frankly shocking 20 year gap in longevity between a person with a learning disability and a person without.

It is for all these reasons that Dimensions is deeply proud to able to pay our respects to all the nominees for the Learning Disability Nurse of the Year Award. Keep the flag flying.”

Steve Scown, Chief Executive, Dimensions