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Work to provide outstanding care and ‘break down barriers’ recognised nationally

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The brilliant work of Nottinghamshire Healthcare’s colleagues working at Rampton Hospital and local prisons has been recognised in the National Learning Disability and Autism Care Awards 2023.

The awards celebrate excellence in support for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Lyndsey Clare, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Practitioner, won the Learning Disability Nurse of the Year Award. Lyndsey supports people in prison who are suspected or confirmed to have autism, ADHD and/or learning disabilities. Part of her role is to advocate for people with autism/learning disabilities to ensure they do not face any health inequalities and are supported to identify their own strengths and needs, making plans for their future.

Lyndsey said:

“I am passionate about the support I provide to neurodiverse prisoners ensuring that reasonable adjustments are understood within the criminal justice system. I love my job!’

“My role at HMP Ranby would not have been able to develop how it has without the support of my clinical lead Ally Woodhead and Matron Lynsey Wainwright. It’s a great feeling for me and all the neurodiversity practitioners that the pathway we are offering people within the criminal justice system is being recognised at national level.”

Rampton’s collaborative hospital wide high support swim initiative received highly commended in the Sporting Change Category. They have developed a comprehensive approach to make swimming accessible for patients with enhanced needs currently nursed in segregation. 

The team developed a specialist training programme to ensure the safety of patients and staff during this activity, giving wider opportunities to those who have not been able to access the pool safely historically. 

James Routen, Service Manager, said:

“We were extremely proud and honoured to have been able to attend the National Learning Disability and Autism Care Awards 2023 ceremony and represent the multi-disciplinary team and everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this initiative a success and have such a positive impact on patient treatment and care.

“The national recognition being the icing on the cake and testimony to the teamwork, which has been a culmination of over eight years of planning, training, and collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders.

“We look forward to building on this success and increasing patient opportunity and experience at Rampton and championing the important role of physical activity on mental health and the NHS.”

The high support swim initiative has enabled long term segregation and hard to engage patients to reap the physical, psychological and emotional benefits that swimming brings.  

The training, operational and procedural management involved in enabling these sessions to be facilitated effectively and safely, set a benchmark nationally and will be shared as best practice with the other high secure hospitals and the private sector.  

They supported an individual who has been segregated for a prolonged period of time and has previously had difficulties engaging with and building therapeutic rapport with staff due to his diagnosis of autism and personality disorder.

This person was not able to swim when initially starting out on their visits to the pool, however over a period of 8-10 weeks and with the support of the team, was able to swim over 36 lengths of the pool. This had a significant impact on both physical and mental wellbeing, seeing them develop more meaningful relationships with the team and feeling healthier in the process. 

The success of these sessions has led to more segregated patients across directorates expressing interest and being afforded more sporting opportunities. 

Becky Sutton, Chief Operating Officer, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to see the fantastic work of Lyndsey and the work of her team, and our colleagues at Rampton Hospital, recognised nationally. They all work to break down barriers to provide the best possible care and support our patients needs. Congratulations to them all on this fantastic achievement.”

The Neurodiversity Offender Health team were also shortlisted in the Breaking Down Barriers team category. The Neurodiversity Offender Health Team was set up in summer 2020 to support people in a prison setting who are suspected or confirmed to have autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or learning disabilities. The team provides care from the day an individual arrives in prison to the day they leave.

The awards represent all areas of care and support for people with learning disabilities and autism within the care sector, whether it be young or older people, supporting people in their own homes, the residential care sector or the voluntary sectors.

Winners were announced at the awards ceremony on 30 June. Find out more at



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