Health and Care of People with Learning Disabilities

January 25, 2019

Annual figures on the health and care of people with learning disabilities have been released in a report from NHS Digital.

The Health and Care of People with Learning Disabilities, 2017-18 consists of data collected from 57% of GP practices in England on key health issues for people with learning disabilities.

It includes figures on:

  • Life expectancy.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI).
  • Flu vaccinations.
  • Palliative care.
  • Cancer screening.

A total of 47% of patients registered in England were included in this publication, a decrease since 2014-15 (52%).

The report, published this week, found that the life expectancy of females with a learning disability is 18 years lower than the general population. Males had a life expectancy of 14 years less than that of the general population.

Looking at annual health checks, the research found that 55% of patients with a learning disability received an annual learning disability health check in 2017-18, which is up 12% from 2014-15's Health and Care of People with Learning Disabilities. Almost 45% of people with a learning disability received a flu vaccine, including 83% of those aged 75 or over with a learning disability.

The report found an increase in the proportion of patients with learning disabilities receiving palliative care, from 0.5% in 2014-15 to 0.8% in 2017-18. There were more patients with learning disabilities receiving palliative care than patients without learning disabilities at all age bands.

The report also gives figures on the prevalence of various health conditions, such as epilepsy and heart disease, noting that coronary heart disease was 1.7 times less prevalent in those with learning disabilities than those without.

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