GPs across Mansfield vow to be more accessible for people with learning disabilities

GPs in Mansfield have launched a new service aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities.

By Phoebe Cox
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 7:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 9:27 am

To mark learning disabilities week, GPs have announced a new service across Mansfield, Pleasley, Warsop and Mansfield Woodhouse to help people with learning disabilities.

Sarah Atkinson, a specialist learning disability nurse practitioner of 25 years, has been touring the area this week, talking with residents and GP practice staff about the existing care and support available.

She is in a new role with Primary Integrated Community Services, which provides NHS services on behalf of primary care networks.

Sarah Atkinson, the new learning disabilities nurse for the area.

Sarah said: “I have always had a special interest and passion for meeting the physical health needs of people with a learning disability, who we know experience health inequalities, de to barriers accessing services – sadly, many die earlier than the general population from treatable and preventable conditions.

“There are no other learning disability nurses employed to work directly in primary care in the East Midlands, so this role is very exciting.

“This role is my dream job. Being able to use all my years of experience to forge relationships with those individuals who have not engaged with their surgery before and being able to undertake observations and their health check for the first time ever, for some, is quite special.”

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The role is being championed by Dr Milind Tadpatrikar, a GP at Mansfield’s Roundwood Surgery.

He said: “GPs have been working hard to find and care for individuals that need urgent support.

”The impact of lockdowns, such as isolating and shielding, has meant health and wellbeing for this patient group has worsened.

“It doesn’t mean staff in practices don’t care for this group.

“Many people with learning disabilities come and see us already, but the ones who don’t come, who can’t come, we want to know why. We need to know if they are missing out on services.

“GPs across 12 practices have combined resources to fund Sarah’s role, a PCN-based learning disabilities nurse.

“We’re finding people in our communities and personalising the service. It’s about saying ‘do you need us, we’re coming to you then’.”