Youssef showing his support for the Treat Me Well campaign

This week is Learning Disability Week 2018 and the focus is on Mencap’s Treat Me Well campaign.

1200 people with a learning disability die avoidably in hospital, every year. Mencap’s campaign is calling on NHS staff to make reasonable adjustments for people with a learning disability to give better care and help save lives.

Today, we hear from Youssef Abidat, who has a learning disability and had plenty of experience with medical professionals and hospital visits throughout his life. Youssef kindly took the time to tell us what the Treat Me Well campaign means to him personally.

What Treat Me Well means to me

Hi, my name is Youssef. I am a Campaigns Assistant/Engager. I like to talk.

I was pleased to be asked to write for My Family, Our Needs about the Treat Me Well campaign and what it means to me. It is so important people understand.

Treat Me Well is a campaign all about making reasonable adjustments for people with a learning disability when they go to hospital. This is about giving people with a learning disability a voice in hospital. Many people with a learning disability are being neglected and we don’t think this is fair.

I have had good and bad experiences in hospital. When I was young, I had a brain tumour operation. My mum was worried a lot about the operation. They told mum that I had a 50/50 chance of surviving. Luckily, it was successful.

In my teenage years, I learnt to associate my hospital with good things and because of the many years I have spent going to hospital, I have learnt to be more confident.

I have had good healthcare experiences but I know that other people with a learning disability don’t. Because I have a mild learning disability, I find it fairly easy to talk with hospital staff and tell them what adjustments I need. I don’t have as high support needs as people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

It’s the law

Making reasonable adjustments is not a nice extra or a luxury. It’s the law. There are three laws that it is important for people to know about when they are in hospital:

  • The first one is called the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This says that no one should assume a person cannot make decisions for themselves.
  • The Equality Act 2010. This law says all people should be treated equally. It protects people from discrimination. It also says changes should be made for disabled people to make sure they are being treated equally.
  • The Accessible Information Standard 2015. This says that people who have a disability must be given information about their health care and social care in a way they can understand.

These laws are important. Mencap’s Treat Me Well campaign is all about raising awareness of the rights that people with a learning disability have. It’s all about making it clear to hospital staff that there are easy changes they can make.

I think it’s important because many people with a Learning Disability die unnecessarily, This means people with a learning disability are often left on their own in hospital. I don’t think this is fair. We should not be treated like second class citizens. Let us hope that this campaign will make a difference.

A step forward

This campaign is a wonderful step in the right direction. This campaign is led by learning disability groups up and down England and Northern Ireland. People with a learning disability like myself are the experts.

During Learning Disability Week 2018, Mencap is inviting MPs, hospital workers and learning disability groups to a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons.

There will also be over 150 events happening in hospitals all around England and Northern Ireland. I will be going to hospital functions around Barnet with Barnet Mencap all week. I will be speaking about the Treat Me Well campaign and promoting it. The hospitals I will be attending are: Barnet Hospital and Royal Free Hospital. We are also launching a new online programme for hospital workers called Treat Me Well Champions. If you are a champion, you will receive tailored information, access to training opportunities and campaigning resources to help bring about change in the hospital you work in. If you work in a hospital or know somebody who does, please sign up here

It is very important that people understand that many people with a learning disability are not being treated equally. We want public awareness.

To find out more about Learning Disability Week and the Treat Me Well campaign, visit the Mencap page or follow the hash tags #LDWeek18 or #TreatMeWell on social media.

How are you getting involved with Learning Disability Week 2018? We would love to hear from you. Tweet us @weareMFON or email