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CCGs urged to close healthcare gaps facing disabled

CCGs urged to close healthcare gaps facing disabled

Public Health England has urged commissioners to tackle the healthcare gaps facing people with learning disabilities
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Public Health England has urged commissioners to tackle the healthcare gaps facing people with learning disabilities.

Following the release of the largest ever study into the health and care of people with learning disabilities, it was revealed that they have poorer health and shorter life expectancies than the rest of the population.

The report from NHS Digital found that females with a learning disability had an 18-year lower life expectancy than the general population, while males with a learning disability had a 14-year lower life expectancy.

The study includes data from almost half of all GP practices in England, and identifies differences in the treatment, health status and outcomes of people with learning disabilities compared with the rest of the population.

Overall, 51% of all patients registered in England are represented in the dataset, making it the biggest study ever conducted into the health of people with learning disabilities in England.

Professor Gyles Glover, co-director of the Learning Disabilities Observatory Team at Public Health England, said: "We hope local health care commissioners and providers will use these data to understand better the key health issues for this vulnerable group and how to tackle them more effectively."

It was also found that only 1 in 2 eligible women with a learning disability received breast cancer screening compared to 2 in 3 eligible women without a learning disability.

People with learning disabilities are also 26 times more likely to have epilepsy, eight times more likely to have severe mental illness and five times more likely to have dementia.

They were also almost twice as likely to suffer diabetes, heart failure, chronic kidney disease or stroke.

Kathryn Salt, NHS Digital's responsible statistician, said: "We hope that this report will play a big part in identifying where provisions are working well and where they may need to be improved to better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities."

Around 0.4% of the population in England is recorded as having a learning disability, with the highest prevalence (1%) found in males aged between 18 and 24.

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