Today the Learning Disability Mortality Review report was published, highlighting again the health inequalities suffered by people with a learning disability and issues in the LeDeR programme designed to investigate and learn from deaths.
Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“The findings in this report show a far worse reality for the life expectancy of people with a learning disability than had previously been identified - with both men and women having their lives cut short by nearly a decade more than previous research had suggested. That women with a learning disability are dying 29 years earlier than women in the general population is scandalous and further evidence of the widespread failures in meeting the health needs of people with a learning disability. This is a 9 year decrease in life expectancy than previous research suggested*.
“We welcome the clear recommendations in the review, particularly around mandatory training on learning disability awareness. Our own research shows that almost a quarter (23%) of healthcare professionals have never attended training on meeting the needs of patients with a learning disability. Mandatory training now needs to be introduced, monitored and enforced across NHS Trusts.
“In addition, NHS England needs to urgently address the backlog of deaths that have not been reviewed, as well as ensuring the learning from reviews creates lasting improvements in healthcare for people with a learning disability.”
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or email@example.com or for out of hours 07770 656 659.
Notes to editors
*(2013) Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities (CIPOLD): Final Report. Norah Fry Research Centre. Available as a PDF to view online.
There are 1.4 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 the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.