Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: 

“The 1.5 million people with a learning disability across the UK have a right to equal access to healthcare just like anyone else. Yet the potentially unlawful use of ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) notices for fit and healthy people with a learning disability during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was discriminatory and quite literally put their lives in danger.   

“While we welcome the review into the use of these notices in care homes – including whether some are still in place illegally – this must go further. The review needs to examine DNR policy and practice across health and care settings, for disabled people of all ages, and set out changes needed to protect people's rights so that unacceptable practice cannot be repeated.”

 Ends –

   For further information or to arrange interviews with a Mencap spokesperson or case study, contact Mencap’s media team on:

Notes to editors:

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. www.mencap.org.uk.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk.     

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.