Learning Disabilities & Autism Opinion

Corporate champions and healthcare challenges

Anna White, Expert by Lived Experience

You remember that part in the movie Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise shouts, “Show me the money!” and you thought – poor guy that is a tough gig.  Then he found a way to make things happen.

Learning Disability and Autism (LD&A) nursing and social care needs to find a way to make things happen.  However someone always seems to be saying, “Show me the MONEY!”  Yeah, well it’s time to do just that.  That is where the corporate champions come into centre stage.

Having two siblings, a beloved sister with Down’s Syndrome and a cherished brother with Autism has meant you learn fast, you go deep and you cry a lot, in a good way!  The constant, relentless lack of training and quality care whether in acute or non acute settings for people in this cohort is frankly deeply distressing.  Which lead me to wonder with my other corporate hat on if there are ways to bring the best of corporate in, to change, root and stem the LD& A Healthcare landscape.

Working in the corporate world manifesting the vision for global corporations to enact change – means you live and die by your deliverables.  The buck stops on your desk, there is nowhere to hide.  The spotlight is on you.  Scary yes, but boy does that bring focus.  That focus is all about delivering a project with financial benefits.

Whether we like it or not everything is about the money.  So let’s rock and roll with that. Embrace it but with a different lens, make it work for the world of healthcare.

How? Turn everything into a project.  This is not rocket science.   The corporate world has a lot and I mean A LOT wrong with it, however it is evolving slowly and guess why, because we as individuals are one by one standing up to be counted and saying, “ We need to do the right thing here.”  Each time we do that, we own and enact change.  We own it.  We then empower it and give it wings.

Projects and Doing the Right Thing.  That is how we change the social landscape.

We stand up for the rights of salaried pay for training that equips us for work with this remarkable cohort of differently abled (not disabled) people in our LD and autism community who frankly teach us more about life than we would ever have dreamed possible.  If we would but have the time to listen and learn.

The projects will always show that the savings will outweigh the cost in the LD&A Healthcare Landscape.  Always.  Just look for the money trail.  How much does it cost to repair something once it is broken.  We know this.

The last seven months have shown us that we are brave, we can do what it takes.  We want this society to cherish all equally and provide what is needed to do that.

Make that choice starting today, every meeting you go – work out what is the deliverable, what is the right thing to do, how much will it save, what is the timeline (how quickly can it be done well) and then own it and live or die by it.  Then watch the people of passion stand up and support you to deliver.  That is how we will change the LD&A landscape and become the change that generations after you will applaud and say – they were the game changers.  Own it – you are a game changer.

Anna is a carer and has a brother with Autism and a sister with Down’s Syndrome.

She has worked for global multinationals around the world for the last 30 years, now based in the City.  Is an advocate for the overhaul of adult Learning Disability and Autism services country wide for both acute and non acute services.  Founder of a charity to teach healthcare professionals & family members best practice care for LD&A people who develop dementia.  Dark Chocolate fanatic and stand up comedy fan.


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