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

“At least 1,200 people with a learning disability die avoidably each year when timely access to good quality healthcare could have saved them. Alongside our expert partners and colleagues with lived experience, we look forward to playing a role in Health Education England and Skills for Care's trials to develop the Oliver McGowan learning disability and autism mandatory training. Through co-design and delivery of training with people with a learning disability and family members, we will put people with lived experience at the heart of the training we trial – something that is key in changing attitudes and practice among health and care professionals and saving lives."


For further information, contact Mencap’s media team on: media@mencap.org.uk or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).   

For advice and information on learning disability, including advice on coronavirus and healthcare, please contactMencap’s freephoneLearning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk. Or visit Mencap’s website: www.mencap.org.uk

About Mencap     

There is approximately 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 and also campaigns to change laws, improve services and challenge negative attitudes towards people with a learning disability. 

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.