The NHS trust which provides mental health and learning disability services across Norfolk and Suffolk has been shortlisted as a finalist in a national competition.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has been recognised in The Employer Award category for the high quality care it provides to people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
The Employer Award is one of the 16 categories in The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards 2018.
NSFT was nominated by Sue Bridges, its Professional Lead for LD/Autism, for the work of its "Green Light Champions" who support people with learning disabilities and/or autism who have additional mental health problems.
"Being shortlisted as a finalist is such as great accolade for the Trust and in particular for the 187 Green Light Champions we have trained," she said.
"It highlights their incredible commitment and hard work to provide equality to all within mental health services.
"The Champions are pivotal in ensuring the learning disability and autism agenda is addressed across mental health services.
"They undertake this role voluntarily and have carried out some phenomenal work to improve people's experience of services, working together in a pioneering, innovative way to drive quality improvements.
"This is the Champions' second honour so far in 2018 because in February they and the Trust were praised in a national review of the Green Light Toolkit initiative by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).
"The author of that report has spoken of the 'pioneering work' of NSFT and 'the passion and commitment' of the Green Light Champions and this shortlisting is a further endorsement of the valuable work they undertake."
The NDTi published the Green Light Toolkit in 2013 in order to improve the way that mental health services in England respond to people who also have learning disabilities and/or autism. The toolkit, which contains 27 standards, was implemented by NSFT in October 2015.
The Trust's Green Light Champions are people with a particular interest or expertise in learning disabilities and/or autism who promote best practice.
They include staff working in all areas of the Trust, service users and champions in other organisations, such as Suffolk Community Healthcare and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.
People with learning disabilities and/or autism as well as additional mental health problems have complex needs and require support and advice to enable them to access services. The Green Light Toolkit enables adjustments to be made to ensure these service users receive health care in the same way as everyone else.
Changes that have been made by NSFT include:
making sure all ward signage at Hellesdon Hospital is easy to understand and accessible to everyone
sending easy read appointment letters which include a photograph of the staff member so that service users can recognise them when they arrive at their home
using blue envelopes when posting appointment letters so that they are easy to identify and therefore more likely to get opened
The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with learning disabilities and aim to pay tribute to those individuals or organisations who excel in providing quality care.
The Employer Award seeks to acknowledge an exceptional employer who is committed to their employees delivering an excellent service to their customers, people with learning disabilities or people with autism and their families.
The winners of the England-wide awards will be announced on 29 June with category winners from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland going through to a national final in the autumn.
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