Poll suggests poorer care for learning disabled

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17 June 2014

OVER one in three doctors reported having seen a patient with a learning disability receive poorer care or face some form of discrimination in a poll commissioned by the General Medical Council.

The ICM poll of around 400 doctors from around the UK also found doctors were keen to see more help being given in this area, with three-quarters indicating that online advice on treating patients with a learning disability would be useful.

The survey was conducted in support of a website launched by the GMC offering practical advice for doctors treating this group of patients. The online resource includes advice on communication, seeking consent and assessing a patient’s needs.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council said: "We know that too often patients who have a learning disability receive poorer treatment and that sometimes health professionals fail to see past the patient’s disability to identify underlying physical problems. We hope this advice and support will be useful to doctors and others who want to make sure patients with learning disabilities are given the best possible care and treatment.

"We believe doctors will welcome this online training resource – in many cases the evidence suggests small changes in the way care is provided can have a big impact on the patient’s experience."

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