Mencap has launched a charter to eliminate health inequalities in the NHS, as new research reveals that over 1,200 people with a learning disability die prematurely every year in NHS care.
The charity has aimed the charter at GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which replaced Primary Care Trusts on 1st April.
Mencap believes that CCGs will be key to eliminating the health inequalities within the NHS which mean that on average, people with a learning disability die 16 years earlier than people in the general population.
The charter, Getting it right for people with a learning disability, a charter for Clinical Commissioning Groups, will see CCGs sign up to a number of pledges, including ongoing learning disability awareness training for NHS staff in their area; supporting all GP surgeries to offer annual health checks to people with a learning disability; and providing evidence of what they have done to meaningfully involve patients and their families in the planning of health services.
The full charter can be viewed at www.mencap.org.uk/CCGcharter
Jan Tregelles, CEO, of Mencap says: “These are avoidable deaths, caused by poor care and delays in diagnosis and treatment by the NHS. They are happening every year and highlight an unacceptable scale of discrimination faced by people with a learning disability.
“New Clinical Commissioning Groups will be key to ending the health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability in the NHS. We want CCGs to sign up to the charter and pledge to commission services that truly meet the needs of people with a learning disability.”
Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb, says: “Recent reports and events have clearly shown that we need to have a complete change in culture about the way that people with learning disabilities are treated by our health and social care system.”
“Mencap’s Charter presents a real challenge to Clinical Commissioning Groups to help bring about these changes and I hope that all Groups will consider signing up to its Charter.”
The charter was developed in partnership with the Royal College of GPs, IHaL, Royal College of Nursing, College of Occupational Therapists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Mencap will release a best practice guide to commissioning services for people with a learning disability later this year.
Since 2010, Mencap has been running the Getting it Right campaign, which aims to support local campaigners, health professionals, GP surgeries, hospitals and healthcare authorities to work together to make improvements.
Getting it right for people with a learning disability, a charter for Clinical Commissioning Groups is available at www.mencap.org.uk/CCGcharter
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
 Estimating how many deaths of people with learning disabilities in England could be prevented , Professors Glover and Emerson of the Improving Health and Lives Learning Disabilities Observatory
 Confidential Inquiry intopremature deaths of peoplewith learning disabilities (CIPOLD), 2013, http://www.bris.ac.uk/cipold/fullfinalreport.pdf