Mencap comments on the findings in the fourth annual report of the English Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme, which was published today.

This LeDeR report presents information about the deaths of people with learning disabilities aged 4 years and over notified to the programme from 1st July 2016 – 31st December 2019. The central focus of this year’s report is on deaths for which a review was completed during the last calendar year (1 January – 31 December 2019).

Edel Harris, Chief Executive of learning disability charity Mencap, said:

“Today’s LeDeR report shows that little progress has been made in tackling the huge health inequalities that people with a learning disability face. People with a learning disability are still dying on average 24.5 years younger and are twice as likely to die avoidably than the general population. Additionally, people with a learning disability from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups are disproportionately dying at a younger age – 43% of children with a learning disability who died in 2019 were from BAME communities. 

“We urge the Department of Health and Social Care to publish a timely response to this report. They must set out robust actions on each recommendation to prevent further lives being cut short because people with a learning disability cannot access the good quality and timely health care they have a right to. 

“This report doesn't address the COVID-19 pandemic. But with data from the CQC showing a 134% increase in the number of deaths of people with a learning disability during lockdown, it is a matter of urgency that the LeDeR and Public Health England reviews into COVID-19 deaths of people with a learning disability are completed and released as soon as possible. Steps must be taken to address any potentially discriminatory practice now before further lives are lost during this pandemic.”

Read the full PDF report here.


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About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email     

What is a learning disability?

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life;
  • Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’;
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.