“Unjustifiable and avoidable” gaps in healthcare for people with a learning disability from ethnic minorities 

2 mins read

Monday 31 July 2023

People with a learning disability from ethnic minorities have a shorter life expectancy than their white counterparts, according to a new NHS report. 

We Deserve Better, a review of research by the NHS Race and Health Observatory, found a lack of reasonable adjustments and failure to recognise needs were common obstacles to people receiving good health care. 

Other obstacles included language barriers, cultural insensitivity, and a lack of information in easy read. 

Authors found no information or policy direction on learning disabilities and ethnic minorities in relevant legislation including the Children and Families Act 2014 and recent Down Syndrome Act 2022.

Among its recommendations, the report calls for interventions for carers of people with a learning disability from ethnic minority backgrounds that address their needs, including their wellbeing. 

Dr Habib Naqvi, chief executive of the NHS Race and Observatory, said the disparities were “unjustifiable and avoidable”

Tom Cahill, National Learning Disability and Autism director, NHS England, said the NHS was already acting on issues highlighted in the report including requiring GPs to record the ethnicity of people with a learning disability as part of the learning disability annual health check available from age 14.