More support needed for people with learning disabilities and autistic people
BASW statement following figures published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
To date, there has been very little information released about the deaths of people with learning disabilities and autistic people linked to Covid-19.
The Care Quality Commission has recently published figures (2 June 2020) that show in just over a month (10th April – 15th May) 386 people with a learning disability and/or autistic person has died. In the same period in the previous year 165 people died – an increase of 134%.
Of the 386 people who died, 206 were as a result of suspected or confirmed Coivid-19 and 180 were not related to Covid-19.
People with learning disabilities, for a variety of reasons, have much poorer health outcomes than the population as a whole. As with other vulnerable and marginalised groups people with a learning disability and autistic people are bearing a disproportionate weight of the impact of Covid – 19 including a greater risk of death.
Urgent action is required to understand the risk factors in terms of Covid-19 for people with learning disabilities and autistic people and to address health inequalities to ensure they are protected from any second wave of Covid-19 infection.
Addressing many of the health issues, would both benefit for these individuals and benefit wider society. As BASW has called for on previous occasions this would include:
- Adequate Covid -19 testing for people with learning disabilities and autistic people
The 9 actions proposed by Voiceability provide concrete examples of what can and should be done to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities and autistic people who rely on social care services.
Health and social care are two sides of the same coin.
Appropriate health care of people with a learning disability and autistic people cannot be delivered in the absence of a wider model of Adult Social Care which is both sustainable and adequately funded.
BASW calls on the Government to take action to safeguard the lives of people with learning disabilities and autistic people, and to set out the plan for the future of Adult Social Care – proposals that are already long overdue.
 See for example ‘A fair supportive society’: http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/a-fair-supportive-society-summary-report/a-fair-supportive-society-summary-report.pdf