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Coronavirus: Spike In Deaths Of People With LD

June 2, 2020

Deaths of people with learning disabilities in England have increased by 134% during the coronavirus pandemic, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

Between 10 April and 15 May there were 386 deaths, half of them confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases.

The CQC said that during the same period in 2019, there were 165 deaths.

In a statement, the government said it was looking at how to “protect those most at risk”.

The “targeted” analysis by the CQC looked at deaths of those with a learning disability and/or autism that it was notified of via care providers, and also those where a learning disability was indicated on the death notification form.

Testing priorities

It found there had been an 134% increase in deaths, with 53% related to coronavirus.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics for the same time period show Covid-related deaths within the general population at 34%.

Kate Terroni of the CQC said: “We already know that people with a learning disability are at an increased risk of respiratory illnesses, meaning that access to testing could be key to reducing infection and saving lives.”

Tests are currently prioritised for homes that specialise in caring for older people and those living with dementia, but not those with learning disabilities or autism.

In a statement, the Department of Health said: “We are working to improve our understanding of how different groups may be affected by the virus, including those with learning disabilities or autism, to ensure we can provide the best support and protect those most at risk.”

The CQC said its figures did come with “limitations”, such as it not being mandatory for providers to inform them the deceased had a learning disability, and added that if both the NHS and care provider reported the same death, duplicates would arise.

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