When Muckamore Abbey Hospital first admitted patients in 1949, services in Northern Ireland for people with learning disability lagged far behind those in the rest of Ireland and the United Kingdom. By the 1960s, however, this had been replaced by what was considered to be a model service. From Special Care to Specialist Treatment: A History of Muckamore Abbey Hospital tells the remarkable, indeed heart-warming, story of the central role that Muckamore Abbey played then in the positive transformation, not only of the services provided, but of the lives of many hundreds of people, patients and staff alike.
From Special Care to Specialist Treatment highlights the role that parents played in setting up some of the first community day services, supported by the professional dedication and innovation shown by nursing, medical and administrative staff. This history also describes how developments in the hospital reflected the changes inbphilosophies and attitudes over time so that what was once a cradle-to-the-grave service has become one that provides greater dignity, respect and independence for people with learning difficulties, one that they and their carers not only deserve but now expect.
Apparent throughout is the care with which this book has been researched as it honestly tells the story of the hospital and its community. While at times this is a sobering tale with struggles for funding for even basic services, most encouragingly it shows the recent involvement of people with learning disability in shaping their own specialist services into the twenty-first century.