GPs think people with learning disabilities receive poorer healthcare

Two-thirds of GPs think people with learning disabilities receive poorer healthcare than other patients, the results of a GMC survey suggest.

Mr Dickson : ‘We know that too often patients who have a learning disability receive poorer treatment'
Mr Dickson : ‘We know that too often patients who have a learning disability receive poorer treatment'

The poll found that 64% of GPs agreed that people with a learning disability receive a poorer standard of care than those without, but that only 54% of hospital doctors did.

More than one in three GPs (35%) said they had personally seen a patient with a learning disability receiving poorer care or facing discrimination.

In total, 200 GPs and 200 hospital doctors were polled by ICM for the GMC.

Commenting on the survey results, GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘We know that too often patients who have a learning disability receive poorer treatment and that sometimes health professionals fail to see past the patient’s disability to identify underlying physical problems.’

The results of the survey were published as the GMC launched an online resource offering practical advice for doctors treating this group of patients.

Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring said it was clear that many doctors recognise that the care of people with a learning disability is ‘simply not good enough’.

‘It is not right that they continue to receive a poorer standard of healthcare than the rest of the population despite having greater health needs,’ he said.

Mr Goldring said the GMC’s online resource represented a commitment from the regulator to help tackle this problem.

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