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Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Inspector

Leadership & Management
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Quality Improvement
  • Management

Area of Practice

  • Learning Disability Nursing


  • Regional Public or Professional Body

Job/Role Summary

My main role and function as a Learning Disability Inspector is to review the care and treatment received by patients who have been detained in accordance with the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. That role is expanded to all individuals who have been admitted to an inpatient mental health facility.  I fulfil that role as part of a Mental Health and Learning Disabilities (MHLD) team through various ways. We inspect inpatient mental health and learning disability inpatient facilities and assess if those facilities are delivering care that is safe, effective compassionate and also if the service is well led. We review serious adverse incidents, we meet and talk to patients and carers and we review detention forms. We also work with other inspectorates, such as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMIP) and Criminal Justice inspection (CJI), as we inspect the delivery of mental health care in prison.

My role involves engaging with a wide range of people from Trust staff to patients and their relatives and a wide range of other stakeholders.

I am also the lead on Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) initiatives within MHLD.


Specific qualifications and experience required

I qualified with a Diploma in Nursing Studies in April 1995 and as a Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNLD). I commenced my career in Longstone which was a hospital for people with learning disabilities. From then and until I moved to my current post, I worked in a variety of private and statutory services. The longest standing post was as a Community Sister in the Community Learning Disability team in Southern Health and Social Care Trust (SHSCT).  During my career I completed a BSc Hons in Specialist Practice Learning Disabilities Nursing.


Career Milestones

I have several highlights in my career to date:

  • Obtaining my Community Sister’s post in the SHSCT.
  • Achieving a First Class Honours degree while being a mum to two boys.
  • My involvement in a project that improved the experiences of people with a learning disability in acute general hospitals.
  • Obtaining a National Award and also the Directors Choice award at the RCN nurse of the year awards.
  • Securing inspector job in RQIA, an organisation that can effect change to improve patient’s experiences.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

I love listening to people who share their story and journey with me and tell me about their experience of mental health and learning disability services. I use this information to help improve and shape the delivery of services and share best practice.  I particularly like to see good evidenced based practice delivered by compassionate staff.

I enjoy the inspection element of my job, as I love gathering all the information from a wide range of sources, analysing it, triangulating it and sharing this with patients, staff and the public. I also enjoy returning to services and seeing the improvements that our inspections have made both for patients and for staff.  


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

The move to RQIA was a significant step in my career development. The skills and knowledge that I had and further developed as a learning disabilities nurse was a solid and excellent grounding and preparation for my Inspector role in RQIA.

If you have an interest in quality improvement and making a difference to the experiences of people requiring care and enjoy the challenge in assuring that care is of the highest quality, then this is the job for you.



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