Work begins on the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme
Press release issued: 18 December 2015
Academics from the University of Bristol recently began work on the English Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme, commissioned by Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) on behalf of NHS England. This is the world’s first national review of deaths of people with learning disabilities.
It was commissioned in response to the findings of the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities from 2010-2013’, which highlighted that for every one person in the general population who dies from a cause of death amenable to good quality health care, three people with learning disabilities will do so.
The recently published report from Mazars about deaths of people with learning disabilities and mental health support needs under the care of Southern Health Trust brings into sharp focus, once again, the apparent lack of regard for the circumstances leading to their deaths, the sidelining of family members, and a lack of concern to learn lessons from and reduce health inequalities experienced by some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Dr Pauline Heslop, who is leading the programme, said: ‘The aim of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme is to drive improvement in the care of people with learning disabilities and reduce premature mortality in this population. It will do so by supporting local areas to review the deaths of people with learning disabilities. We hope that the Mazars report published yesterday will help local areas to understand the importance of supporting these mortality reviews.
‘The success of the programme will be measured by how far the learning that comes from reviewing the circumstances leading to a death can be translated into improvements in service delivery and a reduction in premature deaths. But it also needs to go beyond this, into the hearts and minds of those working in the NHS and social care, so that prejudicial attitudes and practices that discriminate against vulnerable people are not tolerated, and people are treated as people first, people who are loved and who love, and who have strengths and desires that should shape their lives.’