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

"Technology is wonderful, but not everyone can access it. The Secretary of State’s announcement that all consultations should be tele-consultations, unless there is a compelling reason not to, could seriously exacerbate the health inequalities that already exist for people with a learning disability. The UK’s 1.5 million people with a learning disability should be offered face-to-face consultations automatically - without needing to ask for them. This is a reasonable adjustment and we will be asking NHS England to ensure this happens – starting with annual health checks."

-ENDS-  

For further information, contactMencap’smedia team on: media@mencap.org.ukor 020 7696 5414(including out of hours).   

Notes to editors:   

AboutMencap    

There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.Mencapworks 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.Mencapsupports 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 andMencapservices in your area, contactMencap’s FreephoneLearning Disability Helplineon 0808 808 1111 (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or emailhelp@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 isNOTa 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 amild learning disability.