Learning disabilities study uses GP data to highlight health gap

The largest-ever study into the health of people with learning disabilities in England has highlighted the extent to which this group face higher rates of chronic illness and shorter life expectancy than the general population.

A report that includes data from almost half of GP practices in England - covering 51% of patients registerered nationally - shows that life expectancy is 18 years lower for women and 14 years lower for men with learning disabilites than among the general population.

The standardised mortality ratio for people with learning disabilities - the number of deaths in this group compared with deaths among people of the same age and sex in the general population - was 298%, triple the expected number of deaths for the population as a whole.

This finding could form the basis for an NHS outcomes framework tasking local healthcare commissioners with reducing premature mortality among people with learning disabilities, the report suggested.

Learning disability

People with learning disabilities were 26 times more likely to have epilepsy, eight times more likely to have severe mental illness and five times more likely to have dementia, the data published by NHS Digital reveal.

They were also three times more likely to suffer with hypothyroidism and almost twice as likely to suffer diabetes, heart failure, chronic kidney disease or stroke.

Just half of eligible women with a learning disability have received breast cancer screening compared with two thirds of eligible women without a learning disability, the report found. Patients with learning disabilities were also more likely to be either obese or underweight than patients on GP registers without learning disabilities.

Co-director of the Learning Disabilities Observatory Team at Public Health England Professor Gyles Glover 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.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

England's £20,000 golden hello scheme could poach GP partners from other UK countries

England's £20,000 golden hello scheme could poach GP partners from other UK countries

GPs partners in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could be poached by the English...

Viewpoint: How GPs can build a more equal post-COVID world through health creation

Viewpoint: How GPs can build a more equal post-COVID world through health creation

Former NHS chief executive Lord Nigel Crisp explains why the UK needs to focus on...

Mandatory face covering in GP practices vital as face-to-face contacts rise, warns BMA

Mandatory face covering in GP practices vital as face-to-face contacts rise, warns BMA

Face coverings should be mandatory for patients visiting GP practices amid a rapid...

Workshops to help overseas doctors adapt to NHS go online as GMC reacts to pandemic

Workshops to help overseas doctors adapt to NHS go online as GMC reacts to pandemic

Free GMC workshops to help overseas doctors adjust to working in the UK are being...

How new technology can help GPs manage ENT patients

How new technology can help GPs manage ENT patients

Dr Marcelino Ruiz-Martin and Dr Ruth Chambers explain how a practice in Staffordshire...

Face-to-face GP consultations up 70% since start of lockdown

Face-to-face GP consultations up 70% since start of lockdown

Face-to-face GP consultations have risen 70% compared with the early stages of lockdown,...