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

“With the healthcare rights of people with a learning disability under increased threat, it is important now more than ever that we have a timely, full and accurate picture of COVID-19-related deaths of people with a learning disability across all settings.

"It is unacceptable to have to wait until the 2021 LeDeR report is published; lessons need to be learned now and urgent steps taken to address any discriminatory practice.

"Public Health England should also include people with a learning disability in their COVID-19 rapid review into the factors that impact people’s health outcomes. This is critically important and would reassure us that both NHS England and PHE understand that the lives of people with a learning disability matter equally.”


For further information or to arrange interviews, contact Mencap’s media team on:

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-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.