Poor NHS care for people with learning disabilities
A survey by Mencap has found that almost 60% of British people are losing faith in the NHS, and people with learning disabilities are giving being mistreated as a key reason.
Poor care of patients with learning disabilities is being attributed to a lack of awareness and training reports, CareHome.
The chief executive of Mencap, Jan Tregelles said: “With winter fast approaching, we must ask the Government how it plans to care for the most vulnerable individuals in our society during this time. In recent years, the NHS has struggled to cope with the pressures that winter brings, so we fear what this will mean for people with a learning disability and the quality of care they receive in the NHS.”
Research by the University of Bristol has revealed that 1,200 people with learning disabilities die every year as a result of care received by the NHS. Of 247 people surveyed, 22% were under 50 when they died.
Ms Tregelles continued: “In order to tackle the unacceptable inequalities that people with a learning disability face in the NHS, greater learning disability training and awareness is fundamental. Hospital staff must no longer write-off someone’s illness as a consequence of their disability and they must start listening to what families have to say. What’s more, we know that the right training and awareness is critical. Where professionals such as learning disability liaison nurses are in post, they have made a really positive difference to the experiences and health outcomes of people with a learning disability. The Government must take action to ensure that people with a learning disability get the high quality healthcare they need and put an end to this scandal of avoidable deaths. No more excuses – people with a learning disability and their families deserve better.”
A freedom of information request made by Mencap revealed that of 125 NHS Acute Trusts surveyed within England, 42 per cent did not have a learning disability liaison nurse and 49 per cent had a full time learning disability liaison nurse. Of all Trusts surveyed, no Trust could offer round the clock access to a learning disability liaison nurse.
Mencap’s latest campaign, ‘Hear my voice’ provides a platform for people with learning disabilities, care and support workers and family members to allow them to share any issues in time of the 2015 General Election.
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