Premature death link to learning disabilities

According to official research, people with learning disabilities are at risk of premature death, dying on average, 16 years earlier than they should.

The research suggests the premature death of people with learning disabilities is due to NHS failings.

The Department of Health commissioned the work and have said that this is unacceptable.

The deaths occur due to delays or problems with the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.

Mencap, the charity that supports people with learning disabilities, estimates that 1,200 people die needlessly each year under NHS care.

Bristol University researchers carried out the work and looked at all deaths over a 2 year period at 5 primary care trusts in south-west England.

These deaths included 233 adults and 14 children with learning disabilities, and 58 adults without learning disabilities.

The study revealed that people with learning disabilities were more likely to have a premature death than other people in the general population.

On average:

  • Women with learning disabilities died 20 years premature compared to other women

  • Men with learning disabilities died 13 years sooner than other men

Graeme Swain, medical negligence solicitor at Swain & Co, says, “These findings are truly shocking. The NHS is failing people with learning disabilities and many are dying preventable deaths.”

This is yet another scandal concerning deaths that has rocked the NHS of late (see earlier post on Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust scandal).

Graeme says, “These deaths have been caused by poor care and delayed diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. This perhaps supports earlier reports that people with disabilities face discrimination in the NHS.”

Medical negligence can devastate lives of families and can cost a person their life.

This is not acceptable.

When it does happen, families will want answers. Graeme and the medical negligence team are experienced in getting you these answers and, where appropriate, the compensation you need.

We offer you free initial advice, so call Graeme and the team for free on 0800 0351 999