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Gyles Glover

Gaps in what the NHS counts

NHS organisations, including the Department of Health, need lots of information to make sure people with learning disabilities are getting the healthcare they need.

  • They need to know how many people with learning disabilities have health problems and what sort of problems they have,
  • They need to know how many are getting seen and treated by their family doctors and in hospital,
  • And they need to know how many are getting better from illnesses.

They need to know all these things so they can make sure they are complying with the new law – the 2010 Equality Act. We have done a survey to see whether the NHS collects all the information needed for this. There are quite a lot of gaps The results of our survey are in a report you can download at the bottom of this page.

We make four recommendations:

  1. The NHS does big national surveys to see how many people in the population have health problems. We are recommending they should do special surveys for people with learning disabilities
  2. GPs report the numbers of patients they treat for various illnesses for their Quality payments. We are recommending these should be expanded so they show specifically how well people with learning disabilities are being looked after.
  3. Hospitals make reports about all the people they treat as the basis of how they are paid. We are recommending that all these records should include a marker to say when the person had a learning disability. These are called the commissioning datasets.
  4. Finally we are recommending that GPs should set up a national audit system to see how many new health problems they find in Health Checks for people with learning disabilities.

We think if the NHS did all these things, it would be in a much better position to make sure people with learning disabilities get care that is just as good as everyone else.

NHS data gaps for learning disabilities
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In March 2013 we are publishing an update report. This documents the progress made in the two years since the original report was published.

20130201 IHAL2013-03 Filling The Gaps In Information
PDF 20130201 IHAL2013-03 Filling the Gaps in Information.pdf
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