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CPA responds to CQC data on deaths of people with a learning disability or autism

2 June 2020

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) today published results from 'targeted analysis' on the impact of coronavirus on people with a learning disability or autism. The analysis indicates a sharp increase in deaths of suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 of people with a learning disability and/or autism.

The CQC reports 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.’

Of the 386 people who died, the CQC report that ‘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.’

People with a learning disability are at an increased risk of respiratory illnesses; this new data should be considered when decisions are being made about the prioritisation of testing at a national and local level.

Lisa Lenton, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance said: 

"The focus during the pandemic has been on care homes for older people over recent weeks and whilst I agree the impact of the coronavirus in care settings for older people has been absolutely devastating - and direct action has been and continues to be 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 has been focused on older people in care homes and the Government now needs to ensure further strategies are put in place which are inclusive to support people who access the wide range of social care services available, as a matter of urgency.”

Lisa continues: "The roll-out of the testing programme has not been responsive to the needs people with a learning disability, nor supportive of the services they receive. This needs to change as a matter of urgency. I continue to hear from care providers 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 a dementia. We continue to raise this as a priority to the highest levels."

Note to Editors:

  • The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) brings together the 10 main national associations which represent independent and voluntary adult social care providers in England.  We work to represent the sector and ensure a coordinated response to the major issues that affect it.
  • The Care Provider Alliance is an informal body with a rotating chair. Membership is of the representative associations with a national membership across the whole of England. However, some CPA members also represent services in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
  • Together our members provide care and support to 1.2 million people through residential, home-based and community services, whether commissioned by local authorities and the NHS or privately purchased. Together our members employ over 620,000 care workers.
  • Our members’ services include residential and nursing care, homecare, supported living and extra care housing, shared lives schemes, advocacy and telephone helplines. They support children, adults of working age and older people. 
  • CQC publishes data on deaths of people with a learning disability – 2 June 2020 - CQC
  • See CPA’s information on coronavirus.
  • For more information on the Care Provider Alliance visit our about us page

Media contact: Edna Petzen, edna.petzen@nationalcareforum.org.uk 07397 158596