Disability charity, Mencap has responded to NHS England data looking at COVID-19 related deaths to reveal that higher death rates can be found amongst people with a learning disability.
The revelation that a high proportion of COVID-19 related deaths were found in care homes was abhorrent.
Figures released by the Independent revealed that 467 people with a learning disability have died from coronavirus in just eight weeks since the start of the outbreak in England.
Now, learning disability charity Mencap has notified LeDeR that almost half (45.4 per cent) of COVID-19 related deaths were of people living with a learning disability.
“We are deeply troubled by the latest LeDeR data which shows that people with a learning disability are dying at double the rate than in previous years,” commented Edel Harris, chief executive of Mencap.
The analysis from Mencap discovered that the deaths of people with a learning disability is 31.1 per cent higher than care home figures.
“Almost half of deaths of people with a learning disability notified to LeDeR were COVID-19-related – higher than the proportion of COVID-19-related deaths in care homes – yet people with a learning disability continue to be forgotten in this crisis.”
Mencap has been campaigning for improved awareness of health care for children, young people and adults with a learning disability during their Treat Me Well campaign.
It is estimated that 1,200 people with a learning disability die avoidably every year. Now, unfortunately, during the on-going pandemic, data has revealed that the learning disabled community are being largely affected.
There has been double of the number of deaths recorded, around an additional 550 deaths of people with a learning disability, than expected for this time of year.
“The devastating impact of COVID-19 on our community is shocking, but sadly not surprising, when we have long been warning that the healthcare rights of people with a learning disability are under threat like never before,” continues Edel.
“Over the last few months we have repeatedly challenged discriminatory healthcare guidance and practice and continue to support people with a learning disability and their families to access the treatment and support they have a right to.
“That’s why it is more important now than ever that the Government and NHS urgently complete a timely, full and accurate assessment of COVID-19-related deaths of people with a learning disability across all settings, so that steps can be taken to address any potentially discriminatory practice now,” Edel adds.
“This is a matter of life or death and the lives of people with a learning disability matter equally.”
Mencap warns that people with a learning disability are “being forgotten in this crisis” and calls for urgent action to address “address any potentially discriminatory practice now.”