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A hospital facility in Aberdeen which provides learning disability services is being closed down due to a lack of staff. The Bracken Ward in the Royal Cornhill Hospital, which contains 10 beds, has only been able to stay open recently due to help from employees in other departments and community workers. But now the ward has been closed to new patients because the situation became “unsustainable”. Staff attempted to find alternative accommodation for the existing patients in the ward but were unable to do so meaning they will remain there for the time being.
North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald said it was a “symptom” of the problems with the health board. He said: “For families of patients who have used this service in the past this is a real concern as it is for current patients. I think it is another symptom of the ailments afflicting the NHS in that it does not have the funds for its staff and services.”
NHS Grampian has attempted to get nurses returning to practice after a break to consider training in learning disabilities. However, the only two places in Scotland where qualifications in this practice can be obtained are Edinburgh Napier University and Glasgow Caledonian University, meaning people have to leave the north-east to train.
A vulnerable man with learning difficulties has been left "traumatised" after being punched and held at knife-point during an armed robbery in South Lanarkshire.
The 32-year-old man was standing at a bus stop near Calderwood Square, East Kilbride on Friday at around 11pm when he was approached by two men. They then threatened him with a blade, punched him and robbed items from him before making off towards Maxwellton Road.
Emergency services took the victim to Hairmyres Hospital and he was released after treatment.
Detective Constable Stuart Burnside, from Cambuslang CID, said: "These despicable individuals preyed on a vulnerable man who clearly could not stand up for himself and has been left absolutely traumatised by what happened.
"This type of abhorrent behaviour will not be tolerated and extensive inquiries are under way to find these criminals and hold them to account for their cowardly actions. I would appeal to anyone who was in the surrounding area late on Friday night, who may have witnessed the incident or may have seen two men matching the above descriptions, to please get in touch."
Scotland’s first national Learning Disability Awards – run by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) – took place on in Learning Disability week. Prizes were handed out in seven categories at the ceremony at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. It was a glittering night that celebrated the rarely heard stories and achievements of those with learning disabilities and the people who support them.
The Sport Achievement award went to double world record-breaker Fiona Dawson for her success with the South Ayrshire Swim Team Para Squad.During her swimming career, Fiona has won multiple gold and silver medals in the Special Olympics and the European Down’s Syndrome Championships. Fiona, 36, is also playing a big part in inspiring the stars of the future by training to become a swimming coach. She said: “I started swimming at a young age and I grew up to love the water. I have a goal to help others and I’m getting the opportunity to do that now.”
Kirsty Allan, from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, was the winner in the Youth Achievement category. She was nominated after establishing a youth group where members support others in the community. One of their projects supported Syrian refugees and included a welcome event, with donations, live music and guest speakers from local support organisations. Kirsty, 26, commits a lot of her time to helping others. She also volunteers for a Parkinson’s disease charity and runs a social media site that keeps people with disabilities up to date with local events. She said: “I felt excited when my name was called out as the winner of the award. I really enjoy helping other people.”
CommonSpace columnist Michael McEwan marks Learning Disability Week with a plea for employers to look at people, not disabilities
EVERY WEEK or month seems to be promoting awareness of different disabilities or organisations.
This week is Learning Disability Week, an annual event, and this year's theme is 'Looking Back, Thinking Forward' in Scotland's past, present and future. The week is co-ordinated by the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD). The aim of the week is for the public to take the opportunity to reflect on how the lives of people with learning disabilities here in Scotland have changed since the launch of Scotland's first learning disability strategy in 2001.
This new strategy is called 'The Keys to Life' and was launched in 2013, supported by the Scottish Government, to discover if the lives of people with a learning disability had improved since their previous strategy, 'The Same As You' in 2001.
For me, every day is about raising awareness of disability issues and breaking the barriers so that we can have a fairer, more equal society for 175,000 adults in Scotland with a learning disability (that's enough people to fill three football stadiums).
A team was set up to research statistics and opinions, and 'The Keys to Life' is the outcome of the research. The team created a survey group to get feedback on the report, and all of the information has helped build a new, informative and insightful resource.
Pupils with learning disabilities in Scottish schools feel “bullied, isolated and excluded” according to a report by charity ENABLE Scotland. In a survey of young people with a learning disability in Scottish schools 60 per cent said they felt lonely at school while 67 per cent said they had been bullied. Sixteen years after initial moves to educate those with learning disabilities in mainstream schools the number of additional support for learning teachers in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level since 2007. In the ENABLE survey 98 per cent of teachers said initial teacher training does not prepare them for teaching young people who have additional support for learning needs.