Human rights of learning disabled people 'are not being respected'

By agency reporter
May 7, 2018

NHS England has released the annual report of The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme, which was established to support local areas to review the deaths of people with learning disabilities, identify learning from those deaths, and take forward the learning into service improvement initiatives.(

Deborah Coles, Executive Director of INQUEST, a charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation said: “Only 103 out of 1,311 deaths were reviewed due to the large volume referred and inadequate resources committed by NHS England. Even within this small sample, abuse, neglect, delays in treatment or gaps in care played a part in one in eight of the deaths.
"Only five per cent of these deaths had a Coroner’s inquest. Time and time again, it is grieving families who are left to fight for accountability and expose systemic failings in the care of learning disabled people.
"The human rights of learning disabled people are not being respected. Without robust investigation and scrutiny, there cannot be accountability. There is an urgent need for action to ensure learning from these deaths and effect policy and cultural change".
Sara Ryan, mother of Connor Sparrowhawk said: “We've reached the stage now where the label of learning disability is effectively a diagnosis of a life limiting illness. We don't need any more reports. We need action."

Connor Sparrowhawk was 18 years old when he died on 4 July 2013. Connor had autism, a learning disability and epilepsy. In October 2015 an inquest jury concluded neglect contributed to his death. In April 2018, Southern Health were fined £2 million over the deaths of two patients, including that of Connor Sparrowhawk.

* The Learning DIsabilities Mortality Review report can be downloaded here



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