The Office for National Statistics has published new data on the number of disabled people who have died of COVID-19 compared to the non-disabled population.
Latest figures show that disabled people make up almost 6 in 10 of all COVID-19 deaths.
Mencap responds to the data and call for the Government and NHS England to take urgent action to prevent further lives from being lost this winter.
Jackie O’Sullivan, Executive Director of Communications, Advocacy and Activism at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“Today’s shocking statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that disabled people made up almost six in ten of all COVID-19 deaths. This raises huge concerns about disabled people’s access to life-saving medical treatment during the pandemic.
“We are also deeply concerned that difficulties accessing timely and good quality health care could have also led to a high number of non-COVID-19 deaths for people with a learning disability during the crisis. Throughout the pandemic, we have raised concerns about the risk of harm to disabled people. We have seen people being given inappropriate DNACPR orders and received calls to our helpline from families unable to support loved ones in hospital due to visiting restrictions. There are also many people with a learning disability who have experienced issues with remote consultations.
“The Government and NHS England must clarify how they will ensure that disabled people can access the healthcare treatment they need this winter and what steps they are taking to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on disabled people. This is a matter of life or death.”
For the ONS’s full report visit: https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/coronaviruscovid19relateddeathsbydisabilitystatusenglandandwales2marchto3july2020
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For further information or to arrange interviews, contact Mencap’s media team on:
- 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).
Notes to editors:
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 (9am-6pm, 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.