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

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on people with a learning disability, who have died from COVID at far higher rates than the general population, as well as struggled to access the health and care support they need. CQC’s important review into use of DNACPRs during the pandemic highlights the urgent need for better staff training and support to ensure the right of people with a learning disability, and their families, to be involved in decisions about care and treatment is upheld. It is unacceptable that assumptions are made about people’s quality of life or their wishes in relation to treatment. They deserve and have a right to so much better. 

“Health and social care staff have gone above and beyond throughout the COVID crisis and it’s crucial they get the training, support and time they need to engage with and support people with a learning disability and their families in conversations about end of life care. Everyone should receive access to personalised and non-discriminatory support. We now need to see action from Government to lead the areas of work CQC have set out.”

You can find the report here: https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/themed-work/dnacpr-report.


For further information or to arrange an interview with a Mencap spokesperson or case study, please contact Mencap’s media team on: media@mencap.org.uk or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).         

Notes to editors:   

About Mencap     

There are 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: 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 (10am-3pm, 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.