People with Intellectual Disabilities: Promoting Health, Addressing Inequality

Dr Laurence Taggart and Dr Wendy Cousins (Ulster)

There are approximately 32,600 people with intellectual disabilities (also known as ‘learning disabilities’) living in Northern Ireland. This is a higher proportion of our population than other regions in the United Kingdom. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) recognises that persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability; yet a growing body of evidence highlights significant inequality in health care provision for this vulnerable group. The recent Confidential Inquiry Report into the Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities (2013) found that people with intellectual disabilities died on average 20 years earlier than adults in the general population, and that many of these deaths were avoidable. People with intellectual disabilities are also more likely to experience a range of chronic health conditions, many of which can be prevented and/or managed more appropriately; thus improving quality of life, increasing longevity, and reducing care costs. This presentation discusses the health inequalities faced by people who have an intellectual disability and outline potential solutions to deliver more effective and less discriminatory healthcare for this often over-looked section of the population. This aims to contribute to the development and implementation of the ‘Transforming Your Care’ agenda and future policies designed to address inequalities and health.

Date of seminar: 26 November 2014.

See also:
Policy Briefing