|People with intellectual disabilities in the United Kingdom (in short, UK)
have the same rights as all the other people.
They have the right to good health care.
Often people with disabilities in the UK do not get good health care.
This is a very serious problem.
A new campaign is speaking about this problem.
The campaign talks about how people with disabilities can complain
when they do not get good health care.
A video about this campaign made for people with disabilities
can be found at this link.
United Kingdom (UK) Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), Julie Mellor, raised an alert regarding the importance of making healthcare services accessible for people with intellectual disabilities.
According to new case investigations conducted by the Ombudsman Service, the absence of healthcare services designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities, together with insufficient training for personnel, are causing persons with disabilities to have a much shorter life span compared to their non-disabled counterparts. Alarmingly, women with disabilities live up to 20 years less than non-disabled women. The Ombudsman Service blames the high number of preventable deaths occurring amongst Brits with disabilities on care system deficiencies, as a 2013 Governmental study showed that approximately 40% of 238 deaths recorded could have been avoided if proper assistance had been given.
“It is really tragic that the lives of people with a learning disability are in some cases being cut short because they aren’t getting the right care and treatment at the right time”, said Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
The inquiry lists many instances of false or late diagnoses, together with one distressing instance of a patient being denied medical care on the basis of being considered ‘too difficult to assess’. On the same lines, Inclusion Europe member Mencap, UK’s leading learning disability charity, reports that up to 75% of General Practitioners (GPs) have not received any form of training in disability issues.
In a sustained effort to improve these serious shortcomings, the PHSO in close collaboration with the British National Health System (NHS), Mencap and patient advocacy group Healthwatch have launched the Complain for Change campaign. The initiative wishes to raise awareness of the difficulties people with intellectual disabilities and their families are facing, while informing them on the ways official complaints can be submitted. Complain for Change is the first campaign of its kind being run in the UK and will be broadcast in several hundred GP surgeries in London and throughout the country.
Chief executive of Mencap, Jan Tregelles explained that this change is overdue, and people with disabilities and their families have long waited for the means to speak up about the prejudice they are facing. “This tragic waste of life, often caused by poor care and delays in diagnosis and treatment, highlights the scale of discrimination faced by disabled patients in the health service”, she added.
PHSO has also put together a short animated video for people with a learning disability, which can be found at the following link, on the Complain for Change online platform.
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