People with mental health problems and/or learning difficulties are “significantly” more likely than the general population to experience serious physical illnesses, a report has found.
More than half also face difficulties when trying to use health services, according to the initial findings of a Disability Rights Commission investigation into health inequalities.
It indicates that people with severe learning difficulties have much lower rates of cervical screening and other routine tests than the rest of the population.
The DRC’s analysis of 1.7 million primary care records finds that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder were more than twice as likely as other patients to have diabetes, and were also more likely to experience heart disease, stroke, hypertension and epilepsy.
The interim report, which marks the halfway point of the DRC’s 18-month investigation, also finds that some people with mental health problems and/or learning difficulties were struck off GP’s lists for being “too demanding”.
The DRC will produce a full report when the investigation is complete by next summer.