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Breaking down barriers during Learning Disability Week

Healthcare professionals and employers in Lambeth are urged to consider how they can improve the lives of people with a learning disability during Learning Disability Week.

Organised by Mencap during 19-25 June, the week aims to remove the barriers faced by people with a learning disability to ensure they enjoy the same quality of life as the population as a whole.

According to Public Health England, people with learning disabilities have poorer health than the general population, much of which is avoidable. These health inequalities often start early in life and can result from barriers they face in accessing timely, appropriate and effective health care. As well as having a poorer quality of life, people with learning disabilities die at a younger age than their non-disabled peers.

Mencap is using this year's Learning Disability Week to urge employers in Lambeth to think about the benefits of employing people with a learning disability - both for the person with a learning disability and also for the organisation in which they work.

The charity notes that in London, fewer than 8 per cent of adults known to have a learning disability are in paid employment – and this is the highest in the UK.

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair of Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "People with learning disabilities have the same rights to health, employment and a quality of life as does the population as a whole. As commissioners of healthcare services in Lambeth, NHS Lambeth CCG encourage all health and business partner organisations to make it a priority to reduce inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities."

"In Lambeth, Learning Disabilities is an equalities objective for the CCG, as part of a 5 year Equalities strategy. This means that we are working to ensure that at least 95% of people with a learning disability receive an annual health check with a GP and all who need one have a care plan."

During the week Mencap will share:

​the thoughts and experience of people with a  learning disability who are in paid work
  • research that highlights the benefits of employing people with a learning disability
  • employers' experiences of working with people with a learning disability.

According to Mencap, benefits to a business include:

  • high quality staff who are skilled, loyal and hard-working
  • demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the workplace
To support local employers to recruit people with learning disabilities, further information and resources are available from Lambeth and Southwark Mencap.

Lambeth and Southwark Mencap
Web: www.lambethmencap.org.uk
Tel: 0208 655 7711
E: info@lambethmencap.org.uk
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National resources include:

Mencap employers' resources [online] at:  https://www.mencap.org.uk/learning-disability-explained/resources-employers

Skills for Health learning disabilities competence framework [online] at: http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/services/item/449-learning-disabilities

Mencap Learning Disability Week resources [online] at: https://www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/learning-disability-week-2017