Health professionals at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) have presented the winners of a competition to design a special badge for use within the Trust with prizes at a socially-distanced presentation on 15 April 2021.

Colleagues at DBTH launched the competition earlier this year, asking for talented local people to design a badge for the Learning Disability Ambassador team. The special pin will help patients with learning disabilities identify staff members with additional training, who in turn will support them during their hospital visit or stay. It will also help colleagues similarly recognise the newly appointed ambassadors who can advise how to better support patients that have additional needs.

Following a judging process, two winners were selected and invited to a presentation held within the gardens at Doncaster Royal Infirmary to thank them for their designs. Amy Price from supported living at Creative Support, and Sharon Pederson, a peer supporter at the People Focused Group (PFG), attended the presentation with their respective families as well as members of the learning disability community. They both received an Amazon voucher and a Learning Disability Ambassador badge of their own as a ‘thank you’ from the Trust.

Presenting the winners with their vouchers were Simon Brown, Divisional Director of Nursing for Clinical Specialities for Clinical Specialities and Trust Learning Disability lead, and Glynis Smith, Acute Liaison Nurse at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Simon commented on the design entries: “We recently reached out on social media to members from the Doncaster Learning Disability Community to design this badge. We were overwhelmed by the response and the quality of the designs that we received. It was hard to choose between them, so we settled on a joint approach between those submitted by Amy and Sharon. The finished badge is eye-catching and signifies a 'helping hand', which is exactly what our Learning Disability Ambassadors are there for.”

The Trust is currently within year one of a three year learning disability strategy - a co-ordinated approach to carer and treatment for patients living with a learning disability, their families and their carers. The strategy recognises the diverse needs of patients living with a learning disability, the vulnerabilities they face and the difficulties in ensuring their needs are met. This strategy aims to provide all staff and services within DBTH a way to implement effective care pathways from admission to discharge.

As part of delivering the strategy, the Trust encouraged colleagues to form a network of Learning Disability Ambassadors, a role made up of staff across all disciplines, wards and departments. Their role is to be an advocate for patients with learning disabilities including their carers, act as an innovative and enthusiastic role model, providing leadership, guidance and advice to staff on the care of patients with learning disabilities. They will also promote best practice around the care and treatment of patients with learning disabilities during their time in the hospital.

Glynis said: “The Trust is committed to offering the right support to our community and so the Learning Ambassador role was recently established to offer tailored support and to help those with additional needs whilst in our care. Our Ambassadors receive support from the Learning Disability team and will attend supplementary training, such as deaf awareness and sign language workshops. Hospitals can be an overwhelming place for those with extra needs and we hope that we can help to make their experience more pleasant and welcoming.”