Health inequalities continue for people with learning difficulties or autism

People with learning difficulties and those with autism are not receiving the same standard of healthcare as the general population leading to shorter lives and many more avoidable deaths, according to data from recent studies.

The annual Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR), published at the end of November, found that people with learning difficulties in the UK live shorter lives and the chances of their deaths being classed as ‘avoidable’ is almost double that of the general population.

The LeDeR found that of the 2,054 adults with a learning disability who died in 2022 and had a completed recorded underlying cause of death, 853 (42%) had their deaths classified as avoidable.

Although this was lower than the 2021 figure of 50% of avoidable deaths among adults with a learning disability, it remains “significantly higher” than the percentage for the general population across the UK, which was 22.8% in 2020, the latest data available.

The authors of the LeDeR report said: “We believe that things may not be improving fast enough, and overall care and outcomes all too often still fall below acceptable standards compared to the general population.”

Full article in The Lowdown, 6 December 2023