Last reviewed: April 2016 | Next review: June 2020

Our vision is a future where the health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability are eliminated. 

A future where all people with a learning disability have access to the same quality of physical and mental healthcare as everybody else.

This future sees an end to avoidable deaths of people with a learning disability, and the creation of a health system that fully meets their needs.

Current situation

People with a learning disability face many health inequalities, often resulting in worse health than the general population.

On average, people with a learning disability die 16 years earlier than the general population, with approximately 1,200 people with a learning disability dying avoidably every year.

Health vision statement

Download our health vision statement to print off and read.

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Health easy read statement

Download the easy read version of our vision statement on health. It tells you what we think about people with a learning disability receiving the same quality of healthcare as everyone.

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A man sits down in a in hospital corridor

What we want

We want the health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability to be eliminated. For this to be possible we need:

  1. Healthcare professionals to be trained in learning disability to make sure they understand the particular issues that affect them, know how to communicate effectively and involve them and their families in any decisions made around their health.
  2. Tailored healthcare for people with a learning disability, where reasonable adjustments are made, their needs are understood and valued, and their rights are protected.
  3. People with a learning disability to be supported to make healthy life choices - and all care staff to be trained to provide that support.
  4. Social factors like poverty - which negatively impact on the health of people with a learning disability - to be faced head on and reduced.

The issues

Studies show that there are many reasons for the health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability - all of which have solutions: 

  • Higher risk of social factors like poverty that can affect health.
  • Health professionals often have little or no training in learning disability, resulting in poor quality healthcare and reasonable adjustments not being made.
  • Lower understanding of how to stay healthy, resulting in lifestyle-related issues, like being more over or under weight than the general population.
  • Higher risk of health conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, heart problems and mental health problems. If diagnosed early and properly treated, the effects of these conditions can be much less severe.

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