Harrow Mencap is campaigning for a dedicated learning disability nurse at Northwick Park Hospital as learning disability death rates have soared nationwide.

The charity’s new focus comes as data published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has shown a 134 per cent rise in deaths among people with a learning disability this year.

The CQC’s report said 386 of these deaths occurred between April 10 and May 15, with more than 200 dying from confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19.

“These statistics clearly show that more must be done to ensure the health needs of citizens with learning disabilities are met,” said Harrow Mencap CEO Deven Pillay.

“Learning disability nurses can provide vital input in the general healthcare of individuals, and even more so at a critical time such as this. Their support can mean the difference between life and death, including mental, psychological health support, and treatment of underlying conditions that put people with learning disabilities at greater risk.

"Had there been more across the country, there might well have been fewer fatalities. A permanent learning disability nurse at Northwick Park Hospital is an important local step towards addressing this disturbing national issue.”

Presently, the London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Northwick Park Hospital, has a single learning disability nurse for their services which includes four other hospitals, limiting the availability of a key resource for people with a learning disability at their local hospital.

Harrow Mencap’s self-advocate group first raised this issue with the trust, presenting its letter to the deputy chief nurse Donna Adcock last October.

The group is relaunching the campaign this week as part of its learning disability week activities. The relaunch comes just after Harrow Mencap convinced Harrow Council to implement local unpaid carers’ requests for recognition by introducing Carers Cards.

The trust met with Mencap at the end of last year and agreed it would consider a specialist nursing resource although it can’t commit to additional posts in the immediate future.

A spokeseprson from the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust said: “These plans have been disrupted by the pandemic but we do have a staff champion system in place where designated staff provide support to our existing learning disabilities nurse and are aware of the additional support these patients may require In addition, we have a Learning Disability Working Group which looks at how we can improve these services within the available resource.”

Jordan Creed is the Engagement Manager at Harrow Mencap