The charity has aimed the charter at GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which replaced Primary Care Trusts on 1st April.

Mencap believes that CCGs will be key to eliminating the health inequalities within the NHS which mean that on average, people with a learning disability die 16 years earlier than people in the general population*.

The charter, Getting it right for people with a learning disability, a charter for Clinical Commissioning Groups, will see CCGs sign up to a number of pledges, including ongoing learning disability awareness training for NHS staff in their area; supporting all GP surgeries to offer annual health checks to people with a learning disability; and providing evidence of what they have done to meaningfully involve patients and their families in the planning of health services.

The full charter can be viewed here:

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, says:

These are avoidable deaths, caused by poor care and delays in diagnosis and treatment by the NHS.  They are happening every year and highlight an unacceptable scale of discrimination faced by people with a learning disability.

New Clinical Commissioning Groups will be key to ending the health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability in the NHS.  We want CCGs to sign up to the charter and pledge to commission services that truly meet the needs of people with a learning disability.

Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb, says:

Recent reports and events have clearly shown that we need to have a complete change in culture about the way that people with learning disabilities are treated by our health and social care system.

Mencap's Charter presents a real challenge to Clinical Commissioning Groups to help bring about these changes and I hope that all Groups will consider signing up to its Charter.

The charter was developed in partnership with the Royal College of GPs, IHaL, Royal College of Nursing, College of Occupational Therapists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Mencap will release a best practice guide to commissioning services for people with a learning disability later this year.

Since 2010, Mencap has been running the Getting it Right campaign, which aims to support local campaigners, health professionals, GP surgeries, hospitals and healthcare authorities to work together to make improvements.   


Notes to editors

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 0207 696 5414 or

Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities (CIPOLD) PDF, 2013,

About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and 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.


What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people. The level of support someone needs depends on individual factors, including the severity of their learning disability.

Learning disability is not a mental illness. The term learning difficulty is often incorrectly used interchangeably with learning disability.