This week, 18-25 June 2018, is Learning Disability week and the focus is on the healthcare given to people with a learning disability.
According to figures from LeDeR (Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme), it is known that people with a learning disability have a significantly lower life expectancy than people in the general population. For men, life expectancy can be reduced by 22 years, and for women by 29 years. For people experiencing profound or multiple learning disabilities, the mean age of death is 41 years.
NHS Kingston and Richmond Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), working with Richmond Mencap and NHS England, have produced a video directed at GPs and their teams looking at how they can help to improve the quality of care experienced by people with a learning disability and positively contribute to reducing health inequalities.
GPs are being encouraged to engage with the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme (LeDeR), which reviews the deaths of all people with a learning disability aged 4 years or over. This national programme, commissioned by NHS England, aims to identify the learning and opportunities for quality improvement in the care given to people with learning disabilities.
This and other preventative actions such as ensuring people attend for an annual flu jab, participate in cancer screening programmes, and attend for an annual health check, can also make a difference.
Dr Nicola Payne, GP and London Clinical Champion for the LeDeR Programme, said: “What’s most important for me, as a GP, is to deliver high quality of care for all of my patients, so that no-one is excluded or left behind, and that the voice of the patient is heard. I am delighted to be able to make a difference through the LeDeR Programme.”
Laura Turner, Chief Officer, Richmond Mencap, said:
“People with learning disabilities deserve to have the same standard of health care as everybody else. We know that this is not always the case due to a lack of training and resources, and that sadly this can sometimes lead to early death. We are working with healthcare professionals so they are better resourced to support people with learning disabilities and their carers. Simple changes can make a big difference; double appointments, up-to-date hospital passports and ensuring people with learning disabilities have their annual health check all help.”
Watch the video on YouTube below