Many People with Learning Disabilities are Dying Avoidably in NHS Care

 6th Apr 2016

As a result of tightening budgets and an ever increasing population, people in need of support are being subjected to longer waiting times, shorter care visits and other unfortunate results of obligatory compromising.

Furthermore, research has recently been conducted which shows that, each year, over 1,200 people with learning disabilities die as a result of avoidable circumstances whilst in NHS facilities.

This unnerving information was discovered through studies funded by learning disability charity Mencap, with the research itself undergone by Professors Glover and Emerson of the Improving Health and Lives Learning Disabilities Observatory.

Delving deeper into the data shows an estimated 1,238 people living with some type of learning disability die in England as a result of lacklustre care services being provided by the National Health Service.

On 19th March 2013 the results from the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths (commissioned by the Department of Health) was officially published and uncovered for this shocking revelation.

Data from this research also revealed that just over a third of people living with a learning disability died from what was deemed to be an ‘avoidable’ death.

Furthermore, men and women with learning disabilities passed away 13 and 20 years earlier (respectively) than the general population with 22% dying under the age of 50.

This data is a clear manifestation of not only the ever-present stigma attached to mental health issues but, also, to the effects of the budgetary cuts imposed on the sector.

Mental health conditions and learning disabilities are still viewed as inferior problems when compared with typical biological afflictions, and this is clear from the similarly inferior provision of care.

Following on from the findings, the Inquiry recommended the creation of an independent body dedicated to monitoring and improving the quality of life for people living with a learning disability which has since been established as the ‘National Learning Disability Mortality review Programme’.

This was commissioned in June 2015 by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership on behalf of NHS England and the three year project is being led by Bristol University’s Norah Fry Research centre.

Whilst the inception of such a programme is definitely a step in the right direction, there is still much progress to be made in order to not only improve the level of care provided to disabled people in England but also to avoid tragedies such as those detailed in the study from occurring again.

On a daily basis, the caring staff at Encompass help improve the lives of people living with enduring mental health conditions and learning disabilities.

Find out how our services can help you or a loved one by clicking here.

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