Impact of coronavirus on people with a learning disability or autism

May 14, 2020

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is working to better understand the impact of coronavirus on specific groups of people, including people with a learning disability or autism.

This includes analysing all available data on confirmed and suspected coronavirus deaths based on reporting by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

CQC is prioritising this work and aiming to publish it as soon as possible. The regulator has already released figures to show that during the period of 10th April to 8th May 2020, the provisional number of deaths reported across all settings where people with a learning disability and/or autism may live was 3,765 (compared to 1,370 in the same period last year). However CQC states that this absolutely does not reflect the number of deaths of autistic people and/or people with a learning disability, which could be as much as 40 times smaller than this figure once the data on deaths of people who receive other types of care from these providers is separated out.

In independent health settings, 129 deaths have been notified to CQC versus 134 in the same period last year – but again this figure cannot be verified without completing the analysis, which will give a more accurate understanding of the impact of coronavirus on people with a learning disability or autism.

It will do this by separating the data on deaths of people with a learning disability and/or autism from the data on deaths of people receiving other forms of social care, to understand and report on what the actual figures are and whether or not these are in line with deaths in the wider population.

This information will ensure providers have the support they need to keep people safe.

ONS will also be publishing a breakdown of all deaths in adult social care by age range, supported by CQC data. This will present a more accurate picture of those of working age who have died in adult social care settings specifically.


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