Mencap responds to the Health and Social Care Bill
Wednesday 19 January 2011
Mark Goldring, Mencap chief executive, said:
"The health needs of people with a learning disability and the progress that has been made within the NHS must not be lost in these changes."
"Whatever the ultimate structure of the NHS, it is vital that people with a learning disability to have equal access to healthcare.
"Even after the launch of Mencap's landmark Death by Indifference report more than three years ago, people with learning disabilities are still dying needlessly and facing discrimination within the health system."
Replacement of Primary Care Trusts with GP consortiums
"Mencap surveyed GPs in mid-2010 about their experiences of treating people with a learning disability. Almost one third had not been trained in how to make reasonable adjustments and more than half said they needed specific guidelines on how to do this."
"With GPs now being given a key role not only as gatekeepers but also now as commissioners, this lack of knowledge must be addressed as a matter of urgency if people with a learning disability are to have access to the good quality healthcare they need."
NHS Commissioning Board
"The NHS Commissioning Board must have a member with expertise in profound and multiple learning disabilities, due to the often-complex health needs of this group."
For more information please contact Nicola Thompson on 0207 696 5603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
- Mencap's Death by Indifference report, published in 2007, highlighted the stories of six people with a learning disability who died unnecessarily due to ignorance and neglect within the NHS. www.mencap.org.uk/deathbyindifference
- About Getting it right
Getting it right is a campaign run by a group of organisations to improve healthcare for people with a learning disability. People with a learning disability experience poorer health and poorer healthcare than the general population. Mencap has worked in partnership with a number of organisations to produce a charter for healthcare professionals, to help them work towards better health, wellbeing and quality of life for people with a learning disability.
- About Mencap
Mencap supports the 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK and their families and carers. Mencap fights to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
We are also the largest service provider of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. See http://www.mencap.org.uk/ for more information.
- About learning disability
A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always life-long and affects someone's intellectual and social development. It used to be called mental handicap but this term is outdated and offensive. Learning disability is NOT a mental illness. The term learning difficulty is often incorrectly used interchangeably with learning disability.