In response to Government’s announcement of a consultation to improve learning disabilities staff training, Tim Cooper, Chief Executive at United Response, said:

“The Government is absolutely right to focus on the findings of the recent LeDeR report. Its announcement this week of a consultation to improve learning disability training and awareness points to a long-overdue but welcome commitment to tackling a critical issue head on.

“It is an established fact that the life expectancy of people with learning disabilities is, shockingly, much lower than for the population as a whole. Government must ensure that tackling this vital issue is one of the top priorities of the NHS 10-year plan currently being drafted.

“We recognise that as a provider of support to people with learning disabilities we must ensure that our own services are fully responsive to the needs of people we work with, and we are working hard to make sure that we review and improve how we do this. As a social care provider, the partnership with the NHS is vital in ensuring that we can properly meet the health support needs of people we work with. 

“For too long, the untimely deaths of people with learning disabilities have been ignored or simply swept under the carpet. The LeDeR report was a timely and influential contribution towards setting a new path for vulnerable people.

“We are firmly behind any effort to improve and enhance the lives of those with learning disabilities, and the measures announced this week are another positive step towards improving their access to healthcare and reducing the number of avoidable deaths.

“But what we need now is unwavering political will and commitment to seeing this through. We look forward to seeing continued energy from Government on this issue along with tangible actions for healthcare professionals to embed without further delay.”