Individuals with learning disabilities are admitted more frequently to hospital compared with the general population. Mencap’s report in 2007, Death by Indifference, detailed the stories of six people with learning disabilities who Mencap and their families believed died unnecessarily in healthcare settings. The report focused on the care decisions taken suggesting that they were based on assumptions about learning disability and quality of life, and not on the life-saving interventions required.
In 2009 the Parliamentary health service ombudsman, in a report examining these deaths, noted: “The quality of care in the NHS and social services for people with learning disabilities is at best patchy, and at worst an indictment of our society.” Health inequalities start early in life for people with a learning disability and can act as barriers to receiving appropriate care. In order to address these inequalities, reasonable adjustments need to be made to ensure that treatment is equitable.
Read more of this article here in the Nursing Times