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Patient Information

Safeguarding and Vulnerabilities Team

0121 685 4000 ext. 55721
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What does learning disability mean?

A learning disability is an impairment of the brain which can:

  • make it hard to understand complex information
  • find it hard to learn new skills
  • require support to do everyday activities and be independent

A learning disability is diagnosed before adulthood and is recorded on your GP’s ‘learning disability register’. This entitles you to an annual health check which you should have each year.

ROH Learning Disability and Autism Team

Our learning disability and autism team support you to access our services and act to reduce barriers to good quality healthcare.

The team supports all staff to provide specialist care, advice and treatment in a way that suits you. This covers all children and adults who attend the ROH for outpatient appointments, therapy appointments or inpatient stays who have a learning disability or autism.

The learning disability nurse works closely with staff to ensure your needs are met and appropriate reasonable adjustments are put in place. The learning disability nurse liaises with you, your parent/carer, staff, other professionals involved and external agencies to coordinate your care.

Reasonable adjustments

We will offer and implement reasonable adjustments in line with The Equality Act (2010) and NHS Long Term Plan (2019) to ensure that our services are fully accessible to you. Reasonable adjustments are individual to each patient, so please tell us what you need.

Please watch this video. It will help you understand  how adjustments can help you.

Our commitment to you

We will:

  • Complete training on learning disability and autism awareness
  • Implement appropriate reasonable adjustments
  • Make sure the hospital passport is available and used. View the passport folder here
  • Discuss your communication needs and preferences, and adapt to these
  • Arrange appropriate communication support (e.g. a translator or easy read information)
  • Explain at every stage of your appointment or procedure what we are doing
  • Provide support to you, your parent or carer

How we will support you

  • Discuss with you what support you require and record this in your hospital passport
  • Offer a calm, quiet space to wait in
  • Offer an appropriate appointment time (e.g. when a department is quieter)
  • Offer longer appointment times
  • Ensure required equipment is available, such as a hoist
  • Provided information in an appropriate format
  • Record your needs on our system
  • Plan with you what support you need prior to admission
  • Share information with everyone involved in your care so all staff know how to best support you
  • Facilitate visiting the area prior to admission, alternatively you can use AccessAble to familiarise yourself with the hospital
  • Arrange for you to be admitted the night before the procedure if this would help relieve anxiety
  • Request for you to be first on the theatre list, or as early as possible
  • Offer flexible visiting times for your parent or carer
  • Request a side room if this is preferred and possible
  • Arrange for your parent/ carer to stay with you if you would like. Many patients with a learning disability or autism find this helps to reduce distress and anxiety
  • Offer you meal choices to suit your requirements (e.g. Young adult menu or modified consistencies)
  • Work with you and the key people in your life to ensure a smooth discharge


Resources for people and families from BSol ICS

A selection of resources from Birmingham and Solihull ICS

Resources for professionals from BSol ICS

A selection of resources from Birmingham and Solihull ICS

The Oliver McGowan mandatory training in learning disability and autism

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism has been co-produced, trialled, independently evaluated and will be co-delivered by trainers with lived experience of learning disability and autism.   

In July the Health and Care Act 2022 introduced a requirement that regulated service providers ensure their staff receive training on learning disability and autism which is appropriate to the person’s role.    

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism is the standardised training that was developed for this purpose and is the government's preferred and recommended training for health and social care staff to undertake.


We'd love to hear about your experience at the ROH. Please let us know about your visit and how we could improve our services. Visit our patient experience team page to find out more.