Devon

NHS care 'worse for those with learning disabilities'

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Image caption Mencap wants trusts to set out rights of people with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities in the South West get poorer quality healthcare than others, a survey of doctors and nurses has found.

Of those asked 43% said those patients got a poorer standard of healthcare than the rest of the population.

Charity Mencap polled 1,084 doctors and nurses around the UK.

It also found that 47% of those questioned had seen a patient being treated with neglect, lack of dignity or receiving poor quality care.

The charity is urging health trusts to sign a charter which sets out rights of people with learning disabilities and the responsibilities of hospitals.

The aim of Mencap's "Getting it Right" campaign is to ensure that no one with a learning disability should die as a result of ignorance and discrimination.

South Devon Healthcare said: "Regardless of whether or not a patient has a learning disability, our highly-skilled staff will always do everything they can to resolve a medical complaint quickly and with minimum discomfort for the patient.

"We strongly believe that having a disability should not affect a person's access to high quality healthcare and we are continuing to develop services with this in mind."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "The NHS is for everyone and removing inequalities is a priority.

"Improvements have been made in delivering healthcare for people with learning disabilities but there is still much to do.

"Health remains one of the three priorities for the government's learning disability strategy."

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