The NHS is something to be grateful for – expert medical help for all. By and large, medical professionals know what they’re doing. Knowing what to do, though, isn’t always enough. How you do it makes the difference. Knowing how to work with people, how to say things, how to listen – these can decide the outcome.
To its credit, the NHS in Coventry is working with Grapevine’s H Team to change things. The H Team – all people with learning disabilities – has trained hundreds of health care staff in working with people with learning disabilities.
Training sessions help staff to break down the myths and see everyone as an individual. They role play what it’s like to be on the receiving end – being ignored, professionals giving up on them.
The H Team works with students too so new staff will avoid mistakes that have cost people with
learning disabilities their lives.
Since 2003 it’s worked with 1,304 people and won an NHS England award.
Since 2015 it has helped 324 people through 27 peer-led sessions become more aware of common health problems and how to take responsibility for their prevention or treatment.
“Steve went to your SeeAbility session and when he came back told the staff he thought he needed an eye test. We took him for one and now he has glasses. We didn’t realise how bad his eyesight was.”
“I see the H Team as fundamental to changing perception and culture and creating a community that moves away from the medical model of disability.”
Sue Eato, Associate Director of Service User Involvement , CWPT June 2017