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11 September 2013

The Department of Health’s “weak" response to a recent report into premature deaths among people with learning disabilities will come under the spotlight at today's TUC Congress 2013.

The Society of Radiographer’s President Elect, Sheila Hassan, will propose a motion to support the urgent call for a national learning disability mortality review body.

Every year, approximately 1200 people with a learning disability die needlessly due to poor medical treatment. This is equivalent to a Mid-Staffs crisis every year.

Motion 36 is supported by the UK charity Mencap who first raised the issue with the publication of Death by Indifference in 2007. Like the SoR, the charity is disappointed that the government has failed to take decisive action in response to the Six Lives progress report which was published on 12 July 2013.

This looked at progress made in response to the Six Lives report of 2009 which recommended that the NHS and social care organisations urgently review their systems, as well the capacity and capability of the services provided to people with learning disabilities.

“While some improvements have been made, people with learning disabilities are still experiencing poor care and face unacceptable inequalities in health and social care, the SoR’s Sheila Hassan will tell Congress.

“While the government shows recognition of the inequalities identified by the confidential inquiry, and expresses support for the majority of the recommendations, the response does not provide any set goals on timescales for tackling the issues highlighted.

“This clearly shows the continued lack of value they put on the lives of people with a learning disability, especially compared to its strong reaction and detailed response to the Mid-Staffordshire scandal."

Notes for Editor

For more information about the SoR’s motions at TUC, or its work within the trade union movement, contact Dominic Deeson on 01227 469060 or 0795 784 5238.

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