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Conference 2012

Health and learning disability: past, present and future

3rd and 4th July 2012 at The Open University, Milton Keynes

Day one - 3rd July 2012

Morning session


Keynote speech - Back Then and Now! Remembering 34 years as a Learning Disability Nurse
Lesley Russ

In 1978 the Bee-Gees and Abba were in the music charts. Louise Brown, the first 'test tube' baby was born. Anna Ford was the first female newsreader on ITV and I started my training to become a mental subnormality nurse.
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"If you don't like them, there's is something wrong with them"
Mabel Cooper, Gloria Ferris and Jane Abraham

This talk is about how people with learning disabilities help to train doctors and nurses now and what happened in the past.
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A young man's experience of healthcare
Josh McDonagh

I am a young man (19) and have cerebral palsy. I am studying Architecture at Cardiff University. I got three A-levels in: Geography (A*), Design and Technology: Product Design (A), Mathematics (B). I will share my experiences of health care and how it has affected my life.
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Good news, bad news: a review of the literature relating to health and learning disability during the Middle Ages: 1066–1485
Rob Henstock

This paper will review evidence in the literature that provides us with information about life in the medieval period for people who had learning disabilities, especially in relation to medical help and health care.
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Afternoon session


Can you help me doctor? The strange history of the strange relationship between the medical profession and people with learning disabilities
Simon Jarrett

This talk examines the different ways in which doctors and other members of the medical profession have been involved with people with learning disabilities over time.
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How can learning disabled people and their families work together with health professionals?
Catherine and Johanna de Haas

Johanna and I are a mother and daughter team, supported by PAs. Johanna communicates without words. Johanna has had two periods of 4 months of living in hospital; on an adult ward. Both times, I moved into hospital with her.
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Diagnosis: a gateway or a barrier to health services?
Margaret Bailey

The Mencap report 'Treat Me Right' suggests that people with a learning disability do not always get the help they need from the National Health Service. I talked with my son, who has a learning disability, about whether he had got the help he needed.
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Patient-reported outcome measure (PROMS): Can people with learning disabilities participate?
Thilo Kroll, Deepa Jahagirdar, Sally Wyke and Karen Ritchie

What is the problem? The NHS Health Service wants to make sure it provides good health care. The NHS wants to know from patients how good their treatment is and if it works.
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Day two - 4th July 2012

Morning session


Keynote speech - Healthcare and people with learning difficulties: an historical overview
Jan Walmsley

This paper reviews what is known about the history of healthcare and people with learning difficulties in the UK.
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"Are we still in hospital, mummy?"
Deborah Phillips

This paper draws on my personal, practice and academic/research experiences of ‘learning difficulties’. I explore some of these areas before offering recommendations for medics, social care professionals and people with learning difficulties themselves.
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Our health stories
Angela Still and Ian Davies

We have two experienced self advocates who would like to come and talk about their own personal experiences of health problems. They will talk about the time from finding out about their health problems until now.
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The experiences of adults with learning disabilities and their carers of receiving healthcare in an acute hospital setting
Claire Kelly

Men and women with learning disabilities can have problems accessing healthcare services, such as hospitals, in a way that fully meets their medical needs. This can have a bad effect on their health and quality of life (Mencap, 2007, 2012; Michaels, 2007; Emerson & Baines, 2011).
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Afternoon session


Harperbury hospital's longest serving patient: the Fred Pilcher story
David O'Driscoll

Fred Pilcher was admitted to Harperbury Hospital, Hertfordshire in October, 1928. “It was a Thursday, a lovely day, and I remember we had soup and rice pudding for dinner.”
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Can people with learning disabilities do something to prevent heart disease?
Anita Young, Simon Naji and Thilo Kroll

Staying healthy and in good shape is important for everyone. The health care service is also known as the NHS. The NHS asks people to make decisions about what they can do to stay healthy and prevent heart disease.
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The role of support staff in helping people to stay healthy
Duncan Mitchell, Sue Caton and Mel Chapman

Some people with learning disabilities need support from staff to help them live healthy lives. Staff are often expected to know a lot about health and illness so that they can do their jobs. Some staff have had training to support people with health and illness but others have not.
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Final reflections and conference close
Liz Tilley

Contact us

About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

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