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Mencap secure future of Learning Disability research projects
Posted: 7th Mar 2011
After 6 months of behind the scenes lobbying by Mencap and many others, we are delighted to report that two key Department of Health funded research projects are to be continued for another two years.
The Confidential Inquiry into the premature deaths of people with a learning disability and the Learning Disabilities Public Health Observatory have two of the most important campaign wins that were initiated by the government following our Death by Indifference campaign and both have separate but interrelated aims.
The Confidential Inquiry looks to understand why people with a learning disability continue to die prematurely, while the Public Health Observatory aims to understand what can be done to tackle these deaths. Initially these initiatives were given three years of funding, with the government having the option to stop them after one year. Both will now continue for the full 3 years. Commenting David Congdon, Head of Campaigns and Policy said:
“While we do hear of excellent treatment by individual health professionals, we also continue to receive reports about people with a learning disability dying premature and avoidable deaths. In the last 18 months alone, we have received reports of 14 such deaths.
“Also now that GPs will have a key role in commissioning health services, we are concerned about the potential impact on people with a learning disability, particularly those with multiple disabilities and complex health issues.
Mencap surveyed GPs in mid-2010 and found that there was a worrying lack of training and understanding of caring for people with a learning disability. For example, almost one third had not been trained in how to make reasonable adjustments when treating a person with a learning disability.
“Continuing the Confidential Inquiry and the Public Health Observatory will help ensure that the evidence on what works to deliver great healthcare to people with a learning disability is widely shared.”