Learning Disability Team

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The team work with adults who have a learning disability, to help facilitate their patient journey whilst accessing hospital services.

Working hours are: 8.00am - 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday.


The team comprises of:

Saoirse Read

Saoirse Read (Learning Disability and Autism Spectrum  Liaison Services Manager and Team Leader)

Saoirse joined the team in September 2013, she is Learning Disabilities trained and has many years' experience working in a managers role in a community setting. Saoirse works full time.

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Lesley Smith (Learning Disabilities Liaison Nurse)

Lesley is a learning disabilities trained nurse with many years of experience working in learning disabilities services in Plymouth, latterly with the ASLU service. Lesley joined us from that service in December of 2009, she currently works with the team for two days a week.

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Natasha Teague (Learning Disabilities Liaison Nurse)

Natasha qualified as a Learning Disability Nurse in Belfast in 2017. She is originally from Northern Ireland but moved to Australia for 18 months in 2019 before coming to Plymouth in August 2020, joining the Learning Disability Liaison Team as a full time member. She has worked within various roles providing person centred care to children and adults who have a Learning Disability and/or are Autistic, both in Ireland and Australia.

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Stuart Quarterman (Learning Disabilities Clinical Lead Nurse) 

My name is Stuart and I have been in post as ‘Clinical Lead Nurse’ for the Learning Disabilities Liaison Service since January ’22.

I started my career as a Care assistant in Nursing homes in Plymouth.  After 4 years, I worked at the Royal Eye Infirmary in Mutley where they persuaded me to start my Nurse Training.

My first job as a Staff Nurse was on the broken hip unit at Derriford and after my Preceptorship, I got a job in the Emergency Department.  During my 13 years in ED, I progressed to Charge Nurse, then Clinical Educator, before doing my Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) training.  One of my responsibilities in ED was to be the Link practitioner for Learning Disabilities, where I started to work with the LD team to make Reasonable Adjustments within the Department.

Other professional interests continue to be Clinical Education, where I still teach for the British Antarctic Survey, ensuring all that go to the Antarctic are trained in Advanced First Aid.  I am an active Union Steward for the Royal College Of Nursing where I perform a variety of tasks to support our staff within the hospital.

Away from Nursing, my Achilles-heal is Rugby.  If you have a spare hour, spark up a conversation.


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Tara Allin (Team Assistant)

Tara joined the team in March 2020. She has worked with vulnerable adults for the last 10 years. Utilising her administrative training and skills she has supported a gentleman with Autism to run his own business, worked in residential care homes in Plymouth and supported autistics adults at the local NAS group.

Tara has a passion for supporting marginalised and misunderstood people; whether this is due to cognitive disabilities or difficulties, undiagnosed conditions or subsequent mental health issues.

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Jill Singh (Learning Disability Independent Advocate & Associate Educator)

My name is Jill Singh and I have two roles within the Learning Disability Team. I work one day a week as a Learning Disability Independent Advocate and four days a week as an Associate Educator for both the LD Team and Derriford Autism Service.

I was a teacher for 15 years before running a self-advocacy project for adults with a learning disability called Plymouth People First between 2009-2017. I have many years’ experience of supporting people with additional needs and I’m passionate about total communication and the need for clear and accessible information.

I co-ordinate the Derriford User Group ( made up of people with learning disabilities who have lived experience of using Derriford Hospital), facilitate acclimatisation visits, plan mystery shops around the hospital and create easy read and Plain English information for the Trust in accordance with the Accessible Information Standard (2016). I also support link practitioners in their role to help them recognise and introduce reasonable adjustments in their areas.

In my role as Associate Educator I enrol people onto training, organise dates and venues and support our co-trainer who has a learning disability. We deliver sessions fortnightly but with enough notice can put on bespoke sessions or attend CME mornings.

I am based in the Autism office on Level 7. My email is jill.singh@nhs.net so please contact me if you would like to book training for yourself or team, host a focus group or open day for people with a learning disability, are keen to develop easy read materials or would like to talk about your ward or department at a future Derriford User Group session.


Contact the Team


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