Treat Me Well – ‘The Smallest Of Changes Make The Biggest Differences’

22nd June 2018

Treat Me Well – ‘The Smallest Of Changes Make The Biggest Differences’

Last week the PCC held a Health Information Event and a key theme that emerged was how accessible information is useful for everyone, not just those with a disability. To coincide with Learning Disability week, Mencap NI have launched their Treat Me Well campaign and Fiona Cole, their campaigns and policy officer, tells us how promoting accessible communication is just one of the ways they’re encouraging health bodies to better engage with people who have a learning disability.

The 18th-24th June 2018 is learning disability week.  Here in Mencap we are the voice of learning disability – our vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included.

There are 42,000 people with a learning disability living in Northern Ireland, including 31,000 adults. It is essential that they receive the range of support and care needed for them to lead fulfilled lives – and this includes equal access to healthcare that fully meets their needs.

Mencap NI want to use this week as an opportunity to spread the word about the problems people with a learning disability can face in getting good healthcare in hospital, and how we can change this. This is a chance for people to work together with Health and Social Care staff in order to celebrate and share good practice, and work together to make improvements where needed.

On Monday we launched our three-year health campaign, Treat Me Well.  Focusing on reasonable adjustments, Mencap NI advocates that the smallest of changes can make the biggest of differences.

Over the next three years, we want to work with campaigners and healthcare staff to:

  • Ensure compulsory learning disability training for all hospital staff.
  • Have trusts provide sufficient resources for staff, including time to attend training & resources to make reasonable adjustments.
  • Strong leadership from the government and Health and Social Care bodies to ensure eradicating healthcare inequalities for people with a learning disability remains a national priority.
  • Make communication accessible for all – e.g. not using jargon and speaking clearly; or using communication aids such as picture cards.
  • Allow extra time in appointments.
  • Provide written information in an accessible format. Easy read information can enable people with a learning disability to understand when their appointment is or how to take their medication.

We want to hear from you

Over the next three years we will be running Know Your Rights Workshops, and creating campaign groups who will work with local hospitals on making sure every patient receives reasonable adjustments when they require them.

As a campaigner, I cannot do my job without the support of local people with real experiences.  I would love to hear from you if you want to get involved with the Treat Me Well Campaign.

What do you think about Mencap NI’s Treat Me Well campaign?  Have you experienced barriers when communicating with health and social care services?  What steps do you think should be taken to make health information easier to understand?  Tell us in the comments section below!

If you would like more information about the Treat Me Well campaign please contact