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NHS still failing people with learning disabilities, says Mencap

Learning disabled people still face institutional discrimination at the hands of the NHS, Mencap warned today, five years after it laid bare the issue with its Death by Indifference report.

This focused on six cases of people the charity had said had died prematurely due to NHS failings, and sparked an independent inquiry into healthcare for people with learning disabilities, which reported in 2008 and confirmed that the client group was getting inadequate treatment from the health service.

Though Sir Jonathan Michael’s inquiry sparked a range of actions from government to improve matters, Mencap’s report today, Death by indifference: 74 deaths and counting, finds progress has been slow and that the government has failed to implement many of Michael’s recommendations.

For instance, the charity reports no progress on establishing mandatory training in learning disability for health professionals, which it says is at the discretion of training bodies, a failure to collect data to identify people with learning disabilities in the health system and wide variations in the availability of annual health checks for people with learning disabilities from GPs.

This is very much one for NHS professionals and policy makers in government, but it may be worth people in social care taking a glance at this report to inform their dealings with health colleagues around people with learning disabilities.

Mithran Samuel

About Mithran Samuel

Mithran Samuel is adults' editor at Community Care.

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