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Learning Disabilities: Life Expectancy

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the cost of a confidential inquiry into mortality of people with learning disabilities as suggested in “Valuing People” in 2001; and what assessment she has made of the merits of an inquiry into understanding and addressing health outcomes for people with a learning disability. (143303)

“Valuing People” included a commitment to explore the feasibility of establishing a confidential inquiry into mortality among people with a learning disability.

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) was commissioned by the Department to carry out this scoping study and did so during 2005-06. The NPSA presented the Department with a number of scenarios for carrying out a confidential inquiry, with estimated costs ranging between £2 million and £5 million over a three-year period.

Since that work was carried out, the Department has established an independent inquiry into the deaths of the six people named in Mencap’s report, “Death by Indifference”. In addition to the six cases, the independent inquiry will be identifying the action required to ensure that people with learning disabilities receive appropriate health care. The findings and recommendations of that inquiry will be used to inform a decision on whether to take forward a full confidential inquiry into mortality.