ARC England statement on CQC data showing a sharp increase in deaths of people with a learning disability and/or autism

2 June 2020

In response to the CQC data on deaths of people with a Learning Disability and/or autism ARC England Director Lisa Lenton has issued the following statement:

The Care Quality Commission has this morning published some results from ‘targeted analysis’ they have undertaken that indicates a sharp increase in deaths of people with a learning disability and/or autism from Covid-19.

The analysis states the data: “…shows that between 10 April and 15 May this year, 386 people with a learning disability, some of whom may also be autistic, died who were receiving care from services which provide support for people with a learning disability and/or autism. For the same period last year 165 people with a learning disability, some of whom may also be autistic, died who were receiving care from services which provide support for people with a learning disability and/or autism. This is a 134% increase in the number of death notifications this year. This new data should be considered when decisions are being made about the prioritisation of testing at a national and local level.

Of the 386 people who have died this year, 206 were as a result of suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 as notified by the provider and 180 were not related to COVID-19″.

Lisa Lenton, ARC England Director said: “Clearly, the focus during the pandemic has been on care homes for older people and whilst I agree the impact of the coronavirus in these settings on older people has been devastating – and direct action has certainly been required – the figures released today put in to focus that people of working age who have a disability are also very much at risk. The Government strategy all the way along has focused on older people and the Government now needs to ensure further strategies are inclusive enough to support people who access the wide range of other social care services.

Lisa continues: “The approach taken regarding the roll out of the testing programme has not been responsive to the needs of people with a learning disability and supportive of the services they receive – this needs addressing as a matter of urgency. I have been contacted by a number of ARC members who are concerned that staff and the people they support need access to whole service testing as offered to care homes for older people and people with dementia. We will continue to raise this at the highest levels.”

ENDS