Learning Disabilities Development Manager
North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership
I have worked in Learning Disability Services in Ayrshire for over 18 years, initially on research regarding parents with a learning disability, but subsequently in a broader capacity regarding evaluation and development across the breadth of the NHS LD service. That work included a survey of oral health needs of people known to the service in East Ayrshire, which highlighted the real need for additional work in that area. The subsequent collaboration with dental services on developing other related activity, including piloting the initial Open Wide resource, was immensely valuable.
Currently I am working as a Learning Disabilities Development Manager within the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, linked to the implementation of the North Ayrshire LD Strategic Plan. The need for collaboration across services in the delivery of that plan is significant, but my experience to date has also highlighted the need for broader perspectives around needs, less bound to particular diagnostic labels or client categories. In this respect, the development of Open Wide as a resource of relevance to the care of all adults with additional needs is immensely encouraging. Not only does oral health remain a significant issue across a variety of care groups, but the broad vision and inclusive perspective promoted by the Open Wide resource provides a valuable example which other similar resources could benefit from emulating. Its success will hopefully further evidence the value in adopting a more flexible perspective when developing professions and services.