Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“LeDeR's latest report highlights what urgently needs to be done in response to the shocking number of people with a learning disability dying during the COVID crisis. People with a learning disability may experience and express COVID symptoms differently, so they need their health and social care staff to be attuned to this and able to offer them the help they need. And reasonable adjustments in hospital settings, such as allowing visitors, would improve people's care and chance of survival, as would making NHS services more accessible to people with a learning disability.
“The Government has constantly failed to prioritise the needs of people with a learning disability who already experienced serious health inequalities. It must do more now to protect the lives of those at risk, as we battle the second wave of this pandemic."
LeDeR's report can be found here.
PHE's recent report can be found here.
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For further information or to arrange interviews, contact Mencap’s media team on:
- 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).
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 (10-3pm, 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;
- 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.