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

“The pandemic has caused so much devastation in care homes across the UK. Yet there has been little focus on the impact on working-aged disabled adults who live in care homes – including people with a learning disability. Their suffering has often been forgotten.

"People with a learning disability are at a far higher risk of dying from COVID than the general population. Even before the pandemic, many did not receive the level of healthcare treatment they deserved and were more likely to die avoidably and die younger. The forthcoming independent inquiry into the handling of the pandemic must address the high death rate of people with a learning disability, and set out recommendations for urgent system change to address the shocking levels of premature death and health inequalities experienced by people with a learning disability.”

The statistics from ONS are available here.


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.