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Access to health care within secure learning disability and mental health services: appropriateness of provision and perspectives of service users, staff and carers/advocate (PenhaleBU18SF)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Adults with complex needs who are placed within secure settings are likely to have a range of healthcare needs, both physical and psychological (Kahn, 2010; Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2008). A number of these individuals are likely to experience chronic long-term conditions, such as epilepsy and diabetes and it is possible that provision of institutional care may assist with the management of these conditions, or indeed that admission into such units may result in poor or inadequate treatment of conditions. There has been some discussion about the use of institutional care for adults with learning disabilities (Scottish Executive, 2004) and debate about whether the healthcare provided to adults with learning disabilities is better if the person is living in an institutional setting compared to a community dwelling (NACRO, 2007). The study will obtain valuable information about the health of adults with learning disabilities who live in secure institutional settings and will inform the debate about management of such long-term conditions.

The primary research question is whether living within secure institutional settings assists the management of chronic illnesses of individuals with learning disabilities. The principal hypothesis of the study is that the provision of secure institutional care would assist with the management of long-term conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy, but that perceptions of choice and associated issues relating to dignity of provision would be likely to be limited. In order to answer the question and interrogate the hypothesis, the study will examine the needs of adults with learning disabilities living in secure settings using a mixed methods approach to determine the extent and nature of such health needs and examine access to health-care within such a setting. The study will explore the perspectives and experiences of service users, staff members, families and carers and/or advocates in relation to healthcare received (and associated issues such as access), with a specific focus on choice and dignity within provision.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

The type of programme: PHD

Project Start Date: 2018/19


- Entry Requirements: This project is suitable for someone with a good first degree (at least 2:1) or a Masters in a in a social science or health related subject or equivalent.

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website


i) Scottish Executive (2004) On the Borderline? People with learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum disorders in Secure, Forensic and Other Specialist settings, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Social Research
ii) Kahn, L. (2010) Reaching Out, reaching in: promoting mental health and emotional wellbeing in secure settings, London: Centre for Mental Health
iii) NACRO (2007) Mentally Disordered Offenders, Standard 5: In the Community, London: NACRO
iv) NPIA (2010) Briefing note on Recognising Mental Ill-health and learning disabilities, London: NPIA
v) Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2008) In the dark: the mental health implications of imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP), London: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health

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