- People with learning disabilities are being given do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in England.
- Charity Mencap told The Guardian that many were told they would not be resuscitated if they got COVID-19.
- NHS figures show in the UK, 1,220 people with a learning disability have died from coronavirus since February 2020.
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People with learning disabilities are still being given do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in England despite widespread condemnation of the practice leading to an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQQ).
Charity, Mencap, told The Guardian that many with learning disabilities were told they would not be resuscitated if they got ill from COVID-19 without their or their family’s consent in January.
A DNR is a medical order instructing health care providers not to do CPR if a patient stops breathing or heart stops.
Mencap CEO Edel Harris told The Guardian: “Throughout the pandemic, many people with a learning disability have faced shocking discrimination and obstacles to accessing healthcare, with inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices put on their files and cuts made to their social care support.”
According to NHS figures, around 1,220 people with a learning disability have died from coronavirus since February 2020, including 40 of them during the week ending January 29, 2021.
It comes after a Public Health England report from November 2020 found those with learning disabilities had a 6.3 times higher death rate than the general population during the first COVID-19 wave.
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Those aged 18 to 34 with learning disabilities aged are 30 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than others their age, the report added.
Harris told The Guardian: “It’s unacceptable that within a group of people hit so hard by the pandemic, and who even before Covid died on average over 20 years younger than the general population, many are left feeling scared and wondering why they have been left out.”
The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDer) report revealed that 65% of people with a learning disability who died from coronavirus in the first wave had a mild or moderate one.
Those with a severe or profound learning disability are sixth in line for the vaccine. People with mild or moderate learning disabilities are not prioritized. Mencap has called for this to change.
It estimates that including those with mild or moderate learning disabilities would only be an additional 100,000 to 200,000 people.
In 2018, the British Medical Journal estimated that 1,200 people with a learning disability die avoidably in the NHS every year.
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