Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has appointed a specialist nurse with the aim of providing a better patient experience for people with learning disabilities.

Between 9 and 18 patients with learning disabilities attend the hospital on a daily basis, and in the east of England there are 113,000 people registered with learning disabilities. The new nurse’s role will be to improve the level of care they receive when attending the hospital.

The nurse, Sally Ryan will identify specific needs of the patients, and assist frontline staff in delivering person-centred care. Information will also be adapted to make it easier to understand for people with learning disabilities. Ryan said: "There has been a great deal of evidence to support the fact that people who have a learning disability do not receive equal health care treatment or a good health service nationally. There are significant unmet health needs that often go unrecognised, and this has an impact upon the quality of life and life expectancy of people with a learning disability “Access is often a key issue for people with learning disabilities because of their communication difficulties. In fact, good communication is fundamental to improving patient experiences. I’m here to educate and advise our clinical teams so we get it right more often.” Ryan has worked as a learning disabilities nurse in Suffolk for more than 16 years and is Ipswich Hospital’s first learning disabilities liaison nurse.