John Keaveny Speaks at Learning Disability Today

John Keaveny, Learning Disability Awareness Training Coordinator with Treat Me Right!, was recently asked to speak at the Learning Disability Today Conference in London on Tuesday 29th November. Here, he shares his experiences from the day and why he wanted to be involved.

“I was invited to speak about Treat Me Right! alongside Sue Turner, who is the Learning Disability Lead for the National Development Team for Inclusion. Helen came along too as the new Treat Me Right! Manager. The talk was about ‘Improving Hospital Experiences’ for people with learning disabilities. Sue talked about the legal and national reasonable adjustments that should be made to support people in hospital. Helen talked about the work Treat Me Right! has done. I talked about my experience and my work in setting up and running Treat Me Right!. I also gave some of my top tips for getting good support in hospital.

We headed off to the national conference on a bit of a cold day, as you can see. I had already been asked to speak about how I felt about speaking at a national conference by Learning Disability Today and was on the front page of their website on the day – you can read the article here.


When we arrived, we had a look around the exhibition then were shown to the very exclusive speakers lounge for lunch. I took the opportunity to brush up on my slides. After lunch, we attended a talk about Mental Health before it was time for our presentation, which went really well.

There were some great questions from the audience. People were concerned about coming out of hospital and not having the right support. Treat Me Right! is looking at this and will provide guidance on good discharge planning for when people leave hospital.

Another concern that was raised was hospitals identifying people with learning disabilities not wanting to be resuscitated when in hospital, which was being done without their permission. We said Treat Me Right! would look at why this is happening and what can be done to stop it.

There was also a question about what should be in health action plans and who should be involved in these. We talked about the importance of health action plans in setting out the reasonable adjustments people need to access health services. These need to be specific to the person.

I really liked speaking at the conference. I think that it’s important to have lots of people with learning disabilities speaking at events like this. It’s good for me to share my experience and to talk for myself instead of having people speaking about me. It made me proud to tell people from all over Britain about how to support people with learning disabilities better in hospital and show them what we have done in Ealing.”