Crippen looks at the Coronavirus death rate amongst learning disabled people

Having been fobbed off by this government about the number of deaths amongst learning disabled and autistic people it has come to light that many more have died during this pandemic than the vague 2% claimed.

It has always been clear to those of us monitoring the effects of the pandemic on disabled people that the idea that learning-disabled people were not dying at a disproportionate rate made no sense whatsoever. With all support suspended by Local Authorities and carers struggling to obtain advice and protective equipment, it was clear to many of us that the reason the figurers where so low was that the government through NHS England weren’t interested in accurately recording the deaths of disabled people, especially those people who were learning-disabled or with autism.

In an article in the Spectator, journalist Nick Cohen writes: Long after the time when speaking out might have saved lives – NHS England announced that it had finally accepted what the Care Quality Commission had been telling it since June. Far from being nothing to worry about, the probable death rates of people with learning disabilities and autism had doubled during the pandemic.

Labour’s shadow secretary for social care, Liz Kendall, had urged Department of Health and Social Care minister Helen Whately to publish data on deaths reported to the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme. But it became clear that NHS England didn’t appear to be counting and wasn’t interested. The NHS wasn’t going to rush because learning disabilities were not a risk factor worth bothering with.

So, the government has got away with it. There has been next to no coverage of deaths among disabled people. Official inquiries have examined the disproportionate death tolls among ethnic minorities. But on learning disabled people and those with autism, nothing. Or so little it might as well have been nothing.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson are standing together alongside a young woman who is typing on a laptop computer. A graph on the computer shows a red line climbing from left to right. Above her head is a large sign that reads ‘NHS England’ and on the floor at her feet are torn up reports on the deaths of learning-disabled people and those with autism. Johnson is saying to her: “Just concentrate on recording the deaths of those people who could vote!”

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