Health services ombudsman Ann Abraham to investigate deaths of people with learning disabilities in NHS care

    Health service ombudsman Ann Abraham will investigate the cases of six people with learning disabilities who allegedly died unnecessarily in NHS care because they were not seen as a priority, the Department of Health announced today.

    The ombudsman’s review into the cases, which were highlighted in a Mencap report in March, was announced alongside details of a promised independent inquiry into these deaths and the wider issue of healthcare for people with learning disabilities.

    The DH said the independent inquiry would “identify action to ensure adults and children with learning disabilities receive appropriate treatment, primarily in general acute health care and with reference to wider health services”.

    It will look into any lessons that could be learned from the six cases but look at no other individual cases, nor undertake original research.

    The inquiry will be chaired by Jonathan Michael, former chief executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the review team will also include Professor Jim Mansell, director of Kent University’s Tizard Centre, who wrote the pioneering Mansell report into services for people with learning disabilities in 1993.

    A reference group of service users and carers will feed into the inquiry.

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