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GeneralNov 18, 2020

High death toll among people with learning disabilities raises alarm

Covid-19's first wave could have triggered a death rate among people with learning disabilities in England that was up to six times higher than the one recorded among the population at large.

That is the chilling estimate contained in a Public Health England (PHE) report that was published earlier this month.

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Care homes have 'deeply troubling' high death rates

The PHE report is based on data gathered by the English Learning Disabilities Mortality Review and NHS England’s Covid-19 Patient Notification System, which records deaths in hospital settings.

Not all deaths are recorded routinely

From 21 March to 5 June, 451 people in every 100,000 registered as having a learning disability died with Covid-19  a death rate 4.1 times higher than the general population after adjusting for factors such as age and sex.

However, these databases do not record every death of those with a learning disability. As a result, researchers estimate that the true rate may have been as high as 692 per 100,000, or 6.3 times higher than the population at large.

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