After a 20-year career in the NHS working with learning disabled patients, Blair is familiar with the catalogue of problems they have faced, from sub-standard care to serious neglect leading to premature deaths. As a result, the consultant nurse has made it his mission to spearhead innovative improvements to care, including a "patient passport" that allows medical professionals to instantly access vital patient information.
Cognisant of recent revelations about abuse of adults with learning difficulties at Winterbourne View hospital near Bristol, and a series of reports from the charity Mencap about avoidable deaths in the NHS, Blair speaks with a visceral urgency about what he and others are doing about the longstanding failures of the healthcare system to provide for people with learning disabilities.
Blair says there is a growing impetus for change in the health system and within communities, and that the government should concentrate on recommending pragmatic initiatives such as having a national panel for learning disability that includes people with a disability and their carers.
He believes a "tipping point" has been reached for advocates and for people with learning disabilities. "We are getting a bigger voice. We are getting listened to more – and that's a very good thing."
"Article by Miss.Mary O'Hara"