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Second class health care / 28 March 2009

You may remember a few weeks ago (30th January to be precise) I addressed the poor standard of health care for people with learning difficulties. Well you won’t be surprised to hear that The Health Service and Local Government Ombudsmen has directly linked the poor care of two Disabled people to their eventual deaths.

The Ombudsmen had looked into complaints made by the charity Mencap representing families of the six Disabled people who died between 2003 and 2005.

They found one Disabled man died as a result of failings in his care, while a fourth death could have been avoided. It also said the failings in the care of two more were due to the fact that "they had learning disabilities".

The report found failings by hospitals, local health bosses, the official NHS regulator and social care services provided by councils, although none of the complaints against GPs were upheld.

Ann Abraham, the Health Service Ombudsman, said: "The recurrence of complaints across different agencies leads us to believe that the quality of care in the NHS and social services for people with learning disabilities is at best patchy and at worst an indictment of our society."

The Ombudsmen added that there was sufficient policy and guidance available, but agencies were not following it and, as a result, were in breach of human rights and disability discrimination laws.

The government said it was taking steps to address the problems. Oh that’s alright then!

Let’s take a few minutes to remember our Disabled brothers and sister who died.

Mark Cannon - The 30-year-old died eight weeks after being admitted to hospital with a broken leg.

Martin Ryan - Died several weeks after having stroke. While in hospital, the 43-year-old went 26 days without being fed.

Emma Kemp - The 26-year-old died shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.  

Tom Wakefield - The 20-year-old died of pneumonia.

Ted Hughes - The 61-year-old died the day after being released from hospital after an operation.

Warren Cox - Died 90 minutes after being admitted to hospital with stomach pains.