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Half of all deaths of people with a learning disability ‘avoidable’

Nearly half (49%) of all deaths of people with a learning disability in 2021 were deemed to be avoidable, a major annual report has found.

By comparison, just 22% of deaths were classified as avoidable among the overall general population in 2020.

A new report, led by King’s College London and produced for NHS England – identified that of those avoidable deaths among people with learning disabilities, 65.5% died in hospital.

The learning from life and death reviews programme (LeDeR) report also revealed that the Midlands and North West showed the greatest difference in avoidable to unavoidable deaths at 53%, compared to 48% in London.

And when looking at individual long-term conditions, 8% of avoidable deaths were related to cancer, 17% to diabetes, 14% to hypertension, and 17% to respiratory conditions.

It also found that:

  • More than 50% of people with a learning disability died in areas rated as some of the most deprived in England
  • Around six out of 10 people with a learning disability die before age 65, compared to 1 in 10 from the general public
  • On average, men with a learning disability die 22 years younger than men from the general population.

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Source: Healthcare Leader, 18 July 2022


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