People with a learning disability often have poorer physical health outcomes and are more likely to have a lower life expectancy with people on average dying 20 years earlier than the general population (O’Leary, Cooper and Hughes-McCormack, 2018).
In 2013 the Government commissioned a confidential enquiry to look into the premature deaths of people with a learning disability (CIPOLD) and why people were dying prematurely. This enquiry reported that people with learning disabilities are three times more likely to die from causes of death amenable to good quality healthcare than people in the general population. The report underlined the need for a system to be established to review all deaths of people with learning disabilities.
In 2015 The Learning Disability mortality reviews programme (LeDeR) was set up as a result of one of the key recommendations of the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities.
The LeDeR Programme is aimed at improving the lives of people with learning disabilities by exploring causes for people’s death nationally and identifying common themes and learning points. Published mortality review reports emphasise the continuing health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability.
A LeDeR report in 2018 underlined the need for the development of mechanisms that reduce the risk of people developing certain conditions. This highlighted the need for the development of tools that aim to identify individuals with learning disabilities who are at greater risk of developing particular physical health conditions that are associated with high causes of mortality.