NHS to review mortality rates of people with learning difficulties

The three-year project  has been commission by HQIP on behalf of NHS England and will be led by the University of Bristol’s Norah Fry Research Centre, the National Learning Disability Mortality Review Programme. It will support otherNHS England programmes designed to ensure that people with learning disabilities get the support and services they need and work to drive up the uptake of Annual Health Checks and cancer screening.

The programme will review why people with learning disabilities typically die earlier than average and investigate the inequalities that they face within the health industries. It will also look into improvements that can be made and and ultimately reduce the premature deaths.

Jane Ingham, CEO at HQIP said: "The Confidential Inquiry into the Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities set out clear evidence in relation to the extent of health inequalities for people with a learning disability. The establishment of this National Learning Disability Mortality Review Programme will provide improved information about the causes of premature mortality for people with a learning disability and provide the intelligence to drive change in practice, policy and the commissioning of services, particularly at a local level. The University of Bristol has a strong track record in this area and a firm commitment to putting people with learning disabilities at the heart of their work."

Dr Pauline Heslop, who led the CIPOLD work and is programme manager for the mortality review programme said: "We are delighted that health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities are being put under the spotlight. We have seen encouraging change being made as a result of local reviews of deaths conducted as part of the confidential inquiry."

Dominic Slowie, NHS England's National Clinical Director for Learning Disability, said: "It is completely unacceptable that this huge inequality exists for people with learning disabilities, and this will be a vital piece of work in helping us to support everyone to lead happier, healthier lives.The original CIPOLD study made a big difference to the way in which professionals and organisations think about issues relating to people with learning disabilities, and has led to important changes in policy and practice at local level. Now we need to replicate this nationally."

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