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NI Ambulance Service crews to receive learning disability awareness training – Belfast Live

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Northern Ireland Ambulance Service crew members are set to undergo learning disability awareness training.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), who form part of every ambulance crew, are to receive the specialist training with charity Mencap NI.

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The 85 EMT staff will be trained to better understand the needs of people with a learning disability and the barriers they often experience when accessing health services.

Mencap NI’s training will help Ambulance Crews to identify and more effectively support the 42,000 people with a learning disability in Northern Ireland when they need emergency care.

 

Comber mum Selina McInerney has welcomed news of the training roll-out.

Her four-year-old dauhter Alora has the brittle bone condition Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Hydro Kephalis, Pulmonary Hypoplasia, and Developmental Delay requiring constant medical attention and at times emergency ambulance care.

Selina said: “Alora’s condition means that we can need emergency support at any time and ambulance crews have always been so professional when we have to call in an emergency.

Joanne McDonald, Disability Equality Officer, Mencap NI, Alora McInerney (4) and mother Selina McInerney from Comber, David McCartney, NIAS Clinical Support Officer and Seamus McAllister NIAS Clinical Training Manager (right).

“Alora is non-verbal, so it is important for ambulance crew to listen to what I tell them about Alora and what she is trying to communicate.

“This is the same for any parent or carer of someone with a learning disability, especially as so many people with a learning disability have profound multiple and complex needs who require daily health and social care support.”

 

Dr Nigel Ruddell, NIAS Medical Director,said: “It is important that NIAS Ambulance Crew can identify, understand and communicate effectively with a person with a learning disability when they need emergency medical treatment.“

Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap NI said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with the NIAS to train ambulance staff to better understand people with a learning disability. 

“Simple changes in care and support through the use of reasonable adjustments can make a big difference for people with a learning disability. These include better communication, more time and clearer information.”

 

The Mencap training with the NI Ambulance Trust is part of the charities ‘Treat Me Well’ campaign to transform how health services treat people with a learning disability.

Margaret Kelly continued saying: “Unfortunately, people with a learning disability face many health inequalities. Compared to the general population, they experience markedly different outcomes in terms of avoidable deaths, long-term health conditions and life expectancy.

 

“For example people with a learning disability die on average sixteen years earlier and are four times more likely to die an avoidable death.”

NIAS Clinical Training Officers and Mencap Disability Equality Officers will jointly deliver the learning disability awareness sessions as part of the overall Associate Ambulance Practitioners course, which student complete to qualify as an EMT. 

The training starts on Wednesday 21 August at NIAS Headquarters in Belfast and 24 September in Derry/Londonderry.

 

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