Having recently attended events organised by Public Health England around the topic of how to improve the health and consequent life expectancy of people with a learning disability, and aware of the findings of previous research on the issue stretching back beyond the Marmot Report of 2010, (sadly) I was not surprised by the contents of a report just published (5th Nov) by University College London (UCL) Institute of Health Equity (IHE), entitled ‘A Fair, Supportive Society’
This is how the Press Release for the Report introduced its findings:
Shocking new report on children with learning disabilities: Half aren’t diagnosed in childhood; those who are won’t collect their pension.
A new report published today, 5 November, by the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) shows the Government’s emphasis on ‘fairness’ and fixing a ‘broken society’ has failed, catastrophically, for hundreds of thousands of children with learning disabilities. The IHE report A fair, Supportive Society shows the most vulnerable in society – those with learning disabilities – will die 15-‐20 years sooner on average than the general population –that’s 1,200 people every year.
More shocking, explains the IHE’s Director, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, is the fact that this difference is not an inevitable consequence of the underlying condition that led to the learning disability…
The Report itself, available on line here. Perhaps, just take a look at its Executive Summary and Recommendations (pages 6-9)
As Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the IHE states: “Much of the action to improve the social determinants of health for those with learning disabilities will also improve health for others at higher risk of ill health because of social disadvantage. Therefore the actions recommended here will not only improve lives and health outcomes for a highly vulnerable group, people with learning disabilities, but could also help to reduce inequalities in health across thepopulation. The time to act is now.”
Headline on Sky News website last week (4th Nov):
More than 2,300 people have been treated in secure hospitals since 2015 where practices include the seclusion of patients”.
Please read the full story
Now receiving some feedback from posts and blogs on learning disability and/or autism, and health and obesity.
One correspondent with experience of the Camphill movement , and of Botton village in particular, drew our attention to the evidence submitted by the Botton Village Families Group (BVLG), firstly at its ‘Choice for Intentional Community’ presentation to MPs and peers in Sept 2015, and latterly to the Parliamentary Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee in 2017 during its Inquiry into Social Care: specifically, to a paper submitted by Dr Marcus van Dam, of the Danby Surgery, North Yorkshire (the surgery which serves Botton Village), entitled ‘A healthy way of life’. Dr van Dam’s article is concise, and makes for an interesting read. It also gives some background information on Botton (up to 2015). Continue reading
Further to a posting a week ago citing two articles in the ‘i’ by journalist Ian Birrell, in which we observed that “Ian is clearly seething with rage, and we suspect and hope that he will not give up on this issue”, we can report that a further article by Ian appeared on Sunday 28th October (and with a slight reworking on the 29th Oct in the Monday edition of the ‘i’).
The article headlined “Young people are being locked away for years because they have autism and learning disabilities. Some never make it out.” is available to read here. When re-published a day later the headline ran “The care system remains twisted – Incarcerating people with learning difficulties is inhumane”
Please read the article: Ian reports that his citing the case of ‘Beth’ three weeks ago, prompted a response from the Health Secretary and Beth’s removal ‘from solitary’; but he has clearly been informed (by parents and family carers) of many others who have been ‘interned’ in hospitals and short-stay(?!) facilities. Ian describes their stories as Dickensian, and clearly feels that the agenda for change post-Winterbourne has failed.
Two recent articles in the i by the journalist Ian Birrell have left us here at Rescare angry, but to be honest not too surprised.
Please read them, since they highlight what is a national scandal and disgrace. Ian is clearly seething with rage, and we suspect and hope that he will not give up on this issue. It is a minor comfort to read that some politicians have heard his cries and taken up the issue.
Brace yourself, and read the following two article which appeared within two weeks of each other:
7th Oct 2018: A teen with autism is locked in solitary confinement and being fed through a hatch. Have we really moved on from Bedlam?
We hope this blog post contributes however slightly to highlighting the issue Ian Burrell raises.
(Further to recent posts and updates by Rescare on Learning Disability, Health and Obesity, may I just highlight a single paragraph from Ian’s second article: “Despite huge sums of public money spent to place her in a supposed safe space, her weight was allowed to soar. Staff said they tried to encourage her to eat well – yet one week, she ate nothing but ice cream. Stephanie was 13 stone when shut away. Seven years later, her weight had doubled – and she was dead. She died from heart failure and sleep apnoea caused by obesity.”
Last week I attended a conference in Birmingham organised by Public Health England , entitled ‘Public health and people with learning disabilities: national evidence for local action’.
There was a wide range of attendees, including people with learning disabilities with their carers and families, representatives from the voluntary sector and charities such as Rescare, Autistica, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, together with many representatives of the NHS and local government from across England. There was even one observer from Ireland!
The broad aim of the conference was to assist Public Health England in deciding what proposals it should present to NHS England for improvements in the health care and health outcomes of people with learning disability and/or autism.
At this point I should remind you that in August, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS. the government announced specific extra funding to achieve improvements in four ‘sectors’, one of which was learning disability. There now exists the ‘NHS Learning Disability and Autism 10 Year Long Term Plan‘ . The initial discussion phrase of the plan has just ended, and this conference was intended to continue the process of defining objectives and proposals. Continue reading