Dimensions responds to the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme second annual report

Alicia Wood, Head of Public Affairs at Dimensions, comments on the government’s response to the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme second annual report:

The Second Annual LeDeR Report published in May sent shockwaves through the social care sector. Today, Dimensions welcomes the Government’s much-anticipated response. It goes a long way to assuring us that the government recognises the urgent need to stamp out the profound health inequalities that people with learning disabilities experience.

The proposal for mandatory learning disability awareness training for health and social care staff is a landmark step in the right direction. Our research shows that a staggering 98% of GPs are calling for further training on how to care for patients with learning disabilities. Through training healthcare professionals first-hand, co-led by people with learning disabilities, we’re already seeing the difference that this can make to eradicating health inequalities and increasing GP confidence.

Increasing health, wellbeing and life expectancy of people with learning disabilities requires a holistic approach also involving their families, commissioners, and health care providers. We want to work closely with government to make this a reality, and to proactively roll out mandatory training more widely – our door is very much open.

Proposals for named health care co-ordinators are also a welcome step to improving co-ordination and improving accountability, but having accountable local leadership in CCGs and on Health and Wellbeing Boards should also be a priority.

The government response has rightly focussed on preventing early deaths. Many layers of the system surrounding the deaths of people with learning disabilities would benefit from greater scrutiny so we can better understand the real issues underpinning this. We would like to see the government tackle this issue head-on, in particular with the coronial system.