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First Published Tuesday, 24 March 2009


A Caring Hand

Care for people with learning disabilities is under fire after a report found a litany of “significant and distressing failures” across the NHS and councils.


One man died as a result of failings in his care and it is likely that a second man’s death could have been avoided, the Health Service and Local Government Ombudsmen ruled.


Patients with learning difficulties were treated less favourably than others, resulting in “prolonged suffering and inappropriate care”, their report said.


And when their relatives complained about the care given to their loved ones, they were left “drained and demoralised and with a feeling of hopelessness”.


The charity Mencap said the conclusions were a “damning indictment” that confirmed an “appalling catalogue of neglect”.


The investigation was launched after Mencap made a complaint on behalf of the families of six vulnerable people who died in NHS or local authority care between 2003 and 2005.


The two ombudsmen called for an urgent review of health and social care for those with learning disabilities.


They found that Mark Cannon, 30, died as a consequence of public service failure by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust and Havering Council in east London.


The ombudsmen concluded that he had been left in severe pain and great distress for prolonged periods, and was twice discharged from hospital without due concern for his safety.


The report – entitled Six Lives – found it was “likely” that the death of Martin Ryan, 43, another patient with learning disabilities, could have been avoided had his care and treatment not fallen so far below the required standard.


Mr Ryan, of Richmond, south west London, who had Down’s syndrome and epilepsy, went without food for 26 days while in hospital after suffering a stroke in November 2005.


The Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, concluded that Kingston Hospital NHS Trust gave him less favourable care because of his disability.


She found the failure to feed Mr Ryan for nearly four weeks “undoubtedly placed him at considerable risk of harm”.


Source(Includes Video):   http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20090324/tuk-damning-report-on-disability-care-dba1618.html



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