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Bradford students organise national learning disability conference

Published: Tue 13 May 2014

A team of student nurses from the School of Health Studies, University of Bradford has organised a national learning disability conference, Learning Disability Action Aware, taking place at Bradford City Football Club, on Wednesday 14 May 2014.

Student nurses Sarah O’Donnell, Sam Wallace, Dorcas Lambert and Sian Jackson came up with the initial idea to run a learning disability conference, and were keen to organise an event for a national audience. The team have worked tirelessly in their own time, leading a wider group of student nurses from all academic years, to make the conference a reality.


Speakers and workshop facilitators at the event include Dr Ben Thomas, Professional Adviser for Mental Health and Learning Disability Nursing at the Department of Health, Hilary Garratt, Director of Nursing at NHS England and James Bolton, Policy Officer, at Mencap.


“It’s fantastic to see our students raising awareness of learning disabilities in this way, and to see them getting involved in the organisation of a national event. This will provide them with excellent experience to complement their clinical practice and academic studies which they undertake as part of their course,” said Dr Pam Bagley, Dean of the School of Health Studies.


Over 300 delegates from across the country will be attending the event, including health professionals, and student nurses from a wide range of UK universities. The conference aims to provide delegates with the knowledge and understanding to be able to implement reasonable adjustments for people with learning disabilities, within a wide range of healthcare services.


Third year student nurse Sarah O’Donnell comments, “We wanted to put together an event which focuses on the complexities of mainstream services for people with learning disabilities. This is an area which I’m personally interested in and we wanted to increase awareness of learning disabilities amongst other fields of nursing.”


“We are delighted to have attracted so many high profile speakers from across the country, and we hope that the range of activities taking place at the conference will inspire current healthcare professionals and healthcare professionals of the future. Our ultimate aim is to broaden colleagues’ minds, change attitudes, break down barriers and improve acute care services for people with learning disabilities,” said Sam Wallace, second year nursing student.


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