A Learning Disability is a lifelong condition which cannot be cured. There are three core criteria which must be met for the term Learning Disability to apply:

  • Significant impairment of intellectual function. An IQ below 70
  • Significant impairment of adaptive and/or social function and their ability to cope with demands on a day to day basis
  • Normally occurs at birth or shortly after

Learning disability patients should have a ‘flag’ on the hospital system to identify their diagnosis. This allows hospital staff to consider reasonable adjustments and be aware of their additional needs as they move through the hospital. If you know you are coming into the hospital, please call ahead to the liaison nurses to ensure you have a flag in place.

To be eligible to the liaison service in hospital a patient should be on the Learning Disability Register, which is held by the GP service. The liaison nurses can confirm this.

A learning disability is not a learning difficulty. Please be aware of this terminology. A patient with Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD, Dementia or Schizophrenia would not be eligible to our service, without an associated learning disability diagnosis.

SASH Learning Disability Liaison Nurses

Hollie and Ellie are both Registered Nurses in Learning Disabilities (RNLD). As Surrey and Sussex NHS Hospital (SASH) covers both Surrey and West Sussex, we have two nurses. Both nurses are based in Redwood Annexe on the hospital site. They are available Monday-Friday during office hours.


Hollie works for Surrey and Borders NHS Trust. She covers patients who have a Surrey GP. Hollies patients should be over 18 years old. They will be on the Learning Disability Register, held by the GP’s. When Hollie is not available, you can call 01737 288800.

Sarah LD nurseSarah

Sarah also works for Surrey and Borders NHS Trust and covers patients on the Learning Disability Register aged over 18, who have a Surrey GP. Her number is 07825218938.


Ellie works for Sussex Community NHS Trust. She covers patients who have a West Sussex GP. Ellie’s patients should be over 14 years old. They will be on the Learning Disability Register, held by the GP’s. When Ellie is not available, you can call 01403 620438

Once we know a learning disability patient is due to attend, or is in hospital we can support them if they are on the GP register.

  • We can provide easy read documents, to help patients understand their treatment, or the reason they are in hospital.
  • We can help consider reasonable adjustments, like a longer appointment time or ensuring a scan is accessible.
  • We can ensure a smooth journey through the hospital by linking up the hospital team and important people in the community.
  • We can consider alternative approaches or ideas to support patients.
  • We can provide Social Stories or My Care Passports to help you pan for your admission.

If you are coming into hospital you can bring in a My Care Passport. This tells the nurses how to care for you. You can find the passport by clicking here.

If you need any easy read information on a topic to support someone with a learning disability please contact the learning disability liaison nurse.

You can also find easy read health leaflets available.

You can read our policy on supporting people with learning disabilities to access acute hospital services.