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Learning Disability Week 2015 - Achieving Success

LD Week


This year's theme for Learning Disability Week is 'Hear my Voice', a campaign created by Mencap to ensure people are listening to the views of individuals living with a learning disability. Danshell have been working hard to make sure we are listening to the voices of the people we serve, and those closest to them, to make sure we provide high quality, person-centred care. 

In addition, we want to use National Learning Disability Week 2015 to showcase some of the achievements of the people using our services. Many people have been taking great steps towards independence or achieving their own dreams and goals. 

Below are just a few highlights that we want to share with you this week:

Danshell's First National User Forum is a Great Success

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The theme of National Learning Disability Week 2015 is hearing people's voices - and this is what we did at our first National Service User Forum, on the 11th June 2015.

The Danshell Group held its first National User Forum at the Park Inn hotel in York on the 11th June 2015. The forum aimed to gain insight into the ‘Danshell Experience’ through the eyes of those who use Danshell services.  The day saw service users, family carers and the senior management panel gathering to listen to one another to gain greater understanding of the care and support provided from the point of view of the person using the service and how the same things matter to us all.

Read more

Sharing Success - Great Stories of Personal Achievement

 Sarahs Story Pauls Story Ralphs Story Nathan Bev


Danshell's First National User Forum Success

The Danshell Group held its first National User Forum at the Park Inn hotel in York on the 11th June 2015. The forum aimed to gain insight into the ‘Danshell Experience’ through the eyes of those who use Danshell services.  The day saw service users, family carers and the senior management panel gathering to listen to one another to gain greater understanding of the care and support provided from the point of view of the person using the service and how the same things matter to us all.

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Representatives from the regional service user forums came along to share the questions and opinions of their local panels with the people who manage Danshell on a day-to-day basis. To open, Helen Milevsky, training coordinator, talked about ASDAN qualifications and what they offer to people in our services. To date, 98 people using our services have enrolled on the ASDAN qualifications, to gain skills to promote independence.  Helen confirmed that many more people signed up after she spoke about the qualifications and so hoped this number would increase.

Led by Karen Flood, Co-chair of the National Forum for people with learning disabilities, the forum began with a group exercise discussing what was important to them. It was interesting to see that each group independently agreed that family, friends and happiness were the most important three things.

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Next, the groups worked together to make posters about what they wanted to see from Danshell services, and what would mean the most to them. Each groups focus was different and included becoming more independent, communicating with family members and having jobs and meaningful work placements.

At the end of these group activities, the room was aware of what people really valued, and this set the tone for the day. Karen Flood said, ‘everyone in this room is equal’ and ‘being close to family and friends is important to us all’.

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The afternoon session saw the Danshell senior management team form a panel whereby people who use the Danshell services could ask questions about their care and support. The panel was; Andrew Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Debra Moore, Group Clinical and Nursing Director, Resh Hirani, Acting Director of Finance, Ori Zaidman, Director of Corporate Development.

Questions asked included; ‘Can we have a pet?’, ‘How will we keep good staff?’, and from the family carer forum ‘How can you showcase work from inspiring managers and share it with the group?’

The panel provided the opportunity for service users to ask the senior management team questions that they believed would improve the quality of care being delivered. Overall, the question time ran for over an hour and everyone felt that they had good and full responses to issues raised.

Jenny Anderton, Danshell’s user involvement lead and organiser of the day said, “The forum has been a great success. It’s incredibly encouraging to see representatives each regional forum here putting forward those questions that matter most to those in charge. The day was informal and everybody came away feeling positive. The representatives are now going back to their respective regional forums and will feedback on the outcomes of the day”.

Awards Success for Rebecca Hill at the National Learning Disability Awards Show

We are pleased to announce that Rebecca Hill, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Special Projects Lead for Danshell, has won the ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ award at the National Learning Disability Awards Show held on Friday.

The awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with learning disabilities and aim to pay tribute to those individuals or organisation who excel in providing quality care.


Rebecca works tirelessly on a daily basis to ensure that the voices of the people we serve, and their families, are heard and acted upon. In the past year, Rebecca has been instrumental in establishing the Danshell Family Carer forum, an independent group of families and carers that she helps coordinate, to make sure that their voices are heard. She holds monthly conferences calls, creating action points and minutes for them to work from. The family carers asked for and got a dedicated section of the Danshell website, an on-line forum and a quarterly newsletter which is produced by the group to inform and engage with all family and carers.  The communication they produce can be their own experiences, helpful information about benefits, power of attorney, guardianship and much more.

Rebecca as a clear understanding of the need for good communication and inclusivity and has worked closely with our team of consultant nurses and service users to create person centred tools and care plans which are part of the record keeping policy and used as standard across all services. This makes sure we listen to service users and their families and capture their compelling visions for the future and act on them.

In the last year, Rebecca has worked alongside Karen Flood from the National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities and Jenny Anderton to train the people who use our services in becoming Experts by Experience or Quality Checkers.   Service users check other services to make sure they are delivering good care.  They are part of the Quality Development Review (QDR) Team which is our own robust audit programme.  Checking tools have been made for people to be a part of this process and their feedback is included as an important section of the QDR report which goes to the board.

Her hard work and dedication shows in her work, and we are so pleased that her efforts have been nationally recognised.

Congratulations Rebecca! 

You can read more about the awards at:

Personal PATHS in action: Keyworker Selection at Ranaich House Success

It is with much excitement that we can announce the success of our second personal choice named nurse and keyworker selection at Ranaich House that the service initially rolled out last August. This exercise involves service users directly participating and selecting their named nurse and key worker. This is done by taking into account their personal likes and dislikes to ensure that they are supported by staff members with similar interests.

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By using this method, Ranaich House is continuing to meet outcome 5a outlined in the Danshell Quality Strategy, and putting person-centred care into practice using appreciate inquiry on a daily basis, as outlined in our Personal PATHS model of care.

This inspiring exercise involved Service Users directly participating in selecting their Named Nurses and Keyworkers, taking into account their personal views and preferences to ensure that they chose staff members that they thought could support them best. By using this method, Ranaich House was following the Appreciative Inquiry framework that Danshell use to support their strength based approaches. This meant that they were directly involving every service user in the design and development of their personalised service. The exercise was a resounding success, with each service user choosing a member of staff that they felt would deliver them the best level of support and care. One service user said that by using this approach, they were able to select a nurse that they thought was: 

“Very easy to get along with and talk to” and “Works hard on my care plan” 

And another service user said that he chose his named nurse because: 

“He feels like she would listen to him and be really good for his care plans and that she was currently really helping him out with his reading and writing skills and that she was always supportive when he is feeling down.”

By involving everyone in the impartial selection process, a better model of care has been developed, that draws on the strengths and personal preferences of all service users and staff. Danshell hopes that by using new inspiring exercises such as this, they will continue to deliver high-quality care, and make a positive difference to people and their families who use their services.

Danshell Appoints New Chief Executive

Danshell, a specialist provider of learning disability, autism and mental health services in the UK, has announced that Andrew Murray has been appointed as Chief Executive.

Efi Hershkovitz, current Chief Executive and founder of Danshell will take on the role of Executive Chairman to lead the Board through the company’s corporate objectives and continue the growth of Danshell as a leading national operator.  Andrew Murray will take responsibility for the day to day operations of the business.

Andrew Murray

Over the last five years the company has expanded becoming a national provider and currently  operates 26  specialist services across the country.  Efi Hershkovitz, and the executive team have introduced a new leadership structure including regional management and new service managers.  A refreshed Quality Strategy, gold standard clinical governance and the launch of the Danshell Academy have also been introduced.

Following a comprehensive review of its services and after detailed consultation with stakeholders a number of Danshell services have been reconfigured to meet local requirements promoting independence and care pathways for service users.

After overseeing this period of growth and consolidation Efi has handed the reins over to Andrew Murray.

Andrew joined Danshell Healthcare Group as Chief Operating Officer in September 2013. Prior to this he had been the CEO of the Inmind Healthcare Group for over 5 years.

He originally qualified as a nurse then as a social worker in the early 1990's and he complemented this training with both teaching and management qualifications.  

Andrew has worked in the health and social care sectors for more than 30 years and has held senior positions with both statutory and independent providers. In addition to his operational experience he spent several years lecturing in both Social Work Studies and on Nurse Training Programmes specialising in Care Management and Community Care.

For the last 20 years he has managed multi-site operations leading change processes to ensure services reflect the needs of service users and that they are responsive to changing values and expectations. 

Efi Hershkovitz said:  “I am incredibly proud of what has been built at Danshell, which I founded five years ago in order to fulfil my lifetime commitment and vision to make a difference to UK healthcare.

“I am proud that with passion and experience the business has stabilised and we have built the foundations for a stronger future.  By creating the right framework of clinical governance Danshell has regained the confidence of commissioners in its services, which has led to a considerably higher rate of referrals and admissions.

“This has led me to decide that now is the right time for me to take a step back and, although I will remain as Executive Chairman, pass the day to day responsibility for running the company to Andrew Murray, who will take on the role of Chief Executive.

“Andrew has my full confidence and I know he will be an exemplary leader as the business grows and evolves and designs further ‘bespoke’ services tailored specifically to meet the needs of the commissioners within local markets.”

Andrew Murray said:  “I know that I can rely on the support of the Board, senior management team and the exceptional staff Danshell has working in its services as the company continues on its challenging but rewarding journey.

“Danshell is reinforcing its reputation for delivering excellent care to its service users and for working collaboratively with commissioners.   I am proud to be given the opportunity to build on this to ensure that it is sustainable and that Danshell leads the way across the sector and sets standards for other providers to aspire to.”

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