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New figures show scale of deaths from coronavirus among people with learning disabilities

PUBLISHED: 12:58 02 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:01 02 June 2020

New statistics show a worrying number of deaths among people with learning disabilities.  Picture: AP Photo/George Calin

New statistics show a worrying number of deaths among people with learning disabilities. Picture: AP Photo/George Calin

More than half the people receiving care for a learning disability who died across the UK had suspected or confirmed coronavirus, new figures have revealed.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) statistics, from providers registered with the organisation, show that 386 people died between April 10 and May 15 this year, compared with 165 people in the same period last year.

And out of those 386, 206 were as a result of suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Some of the people who died included those living with autism. A total of 184 were receiving care from community-based adult social care services and 195 were from residential social care settings.

Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said: “We already know that people with a learning disability are at an increased risk of respiratory illnesses, meaning that access to testing could be key to reducing infection and saving lives.

“These figures also show that the impact on this group of people is being felt at a younger age range than in the wider population – something that should be considered in decisions on testing of people of working age with a learning disability.”

Tim Nicholls, head of policy at the National Autistic Society, said: “This data is really concerning, particularly what it suggests about the potential impact of coronavirus on people with a learning disability – some of whom the CQC say might be autistic. But autism isn’t a learning disability. Because of the way that this data and other data relating to coronavirus is collected, none of them give a reliable picture of what is actually happening to the 700,000 autistic people in the UK during the outbreak. We are really concerned that autistic people are being missed out and left behind.”

MORE: Another 11 Norfolk care home residents die from coronavirus

Latest Office for National Statistics figures show between January 1 and May 22, there have been 4996 deaths from all causes in Norfolk.

Of those, 407 have been related to coronavirus with the highest number taking place in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk with 131 cases across care homes, hospitals, hospices and people’s homes.

Across other areas of Norfolk, there were 75 in Breckland, 59 in Broadland, 46 in South Norfolk, 44 in North Norfolk, 35 in Great Yarmouth and 17 in Norwich.

For the latest COVID-19 news, visit the Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page.

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