The nursing workforce will have to adapt in order to provide the required level of expert care to the rising number of children with learning disabilities, a report has concluded.
The report, 'Strengthening the Commitment, the report of the UK Modernising Learning Disabilities Nursing Review', said that people with learning disabilities should have access to the expert learning nursing and support they need, want and deserve.
'Strengthening the Commitment' sets out a renewed focus for the four UK governments to ensure there is an appropriately-skilled workforce to cope with the increasing demand. There are currently more than 75,000 children with learning disabilites according to the Department of Health with that number expected to grow further between 2011 and 2021.
It also sought to lay out ways to make best use of learning disabilities nurses throughout the health and social care system and improve the image of learning disabilities nursing as a whole.
The review was commissioned and led by the chief nursing officer for Scotland, Ros Moore, on behalf of the chief nursing officers across the UK.
Each of the four UK countries will consider how the recommendations from the review will be implemented, and will participate within a UK-wide steering group, which will be set up to support the programme of work.
Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson MSP, said: "Learning disabilities nursing has an essential part to play in our health and social care systems across the UK.
"Learning disabilities nurses have sometimes lacked the attention and recognition that other nursing specialties have attracted.
"Strengthening the Commitment sets out a blueprint for how learning disabilities nurses can develop their skills and capacity to deliver the person-centred care that people with learning disabilities and their families and carers need, want and deserve.
"I look forward to implementing Strengthening the Commitment's recommendations. We want to encourage aspiring leaders in learning disabilities nursing and create a UK network to share best practice and continue with research."
Moore added: "Learning disabilities nurses have a long and proud history of providing care and support to people with learning disabilities and their families.
"But skills and knowledge are developing and must reflect the changing needs of people with learning disabilities, now and in the future."
To view the report, click here