Skip to Main Content Skip to Site Map Skip to Accessibility Statement

Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities – Strategic Workforce Development Project

Frances Cannon Associate Senior Professional Officer

In 2019 the Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health initiated a review of the role of the Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities workforce in Northern Ireland.  The overarching aim was to examine the current role of a Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNLD) and make recommendations to support the future role within health and social care settings across Northern Ireland to enable people with a learning disability, their families and carers to be supported, to achieve and maintain good health and to live long, healthy, active and fulfilled lives.

In August 2022, the Chief Nursing Officer commissioned NIPEC to establish the RNLD – Strategic Workforce Development Group to take forward the recommendations from the review.

  • RNLD – Strategic Workforce Development Group

    The Group established in September 2022 is co-chaired by Suzanne Pullins, EDoN NHSCT Trust and Linda Kelly, Chief Executive NIPEC – the Group includes representation from all organisations across the HSC system. Professor Owen Barr, was seconded from the Department of Health for a period of time to assist with the project.

    The purpose of the project was to define the roles that RNLDs should be delivering, in line with evidence-based practice, to meet the recognise the abilities and meet the needs of people with learning disabilities in Northern Ireland. This includes the development of a proposed model for RNLD services, aligned to the CNOs vision for the professions of Nursing ad Midwifery, to ensure the availability of a suitably skilled and resourced registrant workforce across primary, secondary and specialist health and social care service, in line with strategic direction.

  • RNLD – Expert Reference Group (RNLD ERG)

    In November 2022 the RNLD Expert Reference Group (ERG) chaired by Professor Owen Barr, Ulster University was established, it meets on a monthly basis and acts as a resource for the various workstreams stemming from the RNLD – Strategic Workforce Development Group. Membership of the RNLD ERG includes individuals from a range of relevant organisations and involves engagement with and from people with learning disabilities and family members/carers representation.

    View the Terms of Reference

    Agendas and Notes of Meetings are available to view from the right hand margin.

  • RNLD – Communities of Practice

    The RNLD ERG requested a RNLD Communities of Practice (CoP) be established.  The CoP which is co-chaired by two senior RNLDs from practice, Clionagh McElhinney, (Trainee Consultant Nurse) WHSCT, and Angela McCallan, (Trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioner), NHSCT and was formally launched on the 28 April 2023. It aims to provide a platform to share best practice in RNLD nursing, promote continuous professional development and provide a platform to explore registration specific and wider professional nursing issues. The CoP is open to all RNLDs and other nurses who have an interest in supporting people with learning disabilities – across all settings to include HSC Trusts, the Education Sector and the Independent/Voluntary Sector.

    View the Terms of Reference

    View the Launch Event Document

    Links to the next meeting on 24 October 2023 


Officer involved in the project:

Frances Cannon
Associate Senior Professional Officer

Locations where this service is delivered