In the News
Learning disabilities and health inequalities
Did you know that people with a learning disability are more than twice as likely to die from avoidable causes than the rest of the population?
For some time data on health outcomes has illustrated a distinct inequality of experience and outcome for people with a learning disability.
For example, the 2018 Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) found the median age at death for people with a learning disability was 60 years for men and 59 years for women. This was significantly less than the median age of death of 83 years for men and 86 years for women in the general population.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, infections and deaths within the population of people with learning disabilities was massively disproportionate to the general population:
Based on the deaths reported to LeDeR, the COVID-19 death rate for people with learning disabilities was 240 deaths per 100,000 adults with learning disabilities. This is 2.3 times the rate in the general population for the same period. However, after adjusting for under-reporting the estimated rate was 369 per 100,000 adults, which is 3.6 times the rate in the general population.
Source: COVID 19 deaths of people identified as having learning disabilities: summary
The 2021 Learning from Lives and Deaths - people with a learning disability and autistic people (LeDeR) shows that median age at death of people with learning disabilities has improved only very slightly from 2018: The median age at death for
males was 61 years and 60 years for females, so the disparity between median age at death in people with learning disability and the general population is 22 years for males and 26 years for females.
Actor Tommy Jessop, who has Down Syndrome, decided to investigate what was going on in the BBC Panorama programme: Will the NHS care for me? In this programme, Tommy meets the families of some adults and young people with learning disabilities who suffered avoidable deaths, some of which occurred during NHS hospital treatment. Tommy also looks at some of the ways that NHS care for people with learning disabilities could be improved.
The Mencap Treat Me Well Campaign aims to transform how the NHS treats people with a learning disability in hospital. They have produced many resources to explain what rights people with a learning disability have when it comes to hospital care.