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Monday 24th October 2016

Neglect accusations investigated

14th March 2007

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has ordered an independent inquiry into the deaths of six people with learning difficulties following accusations of neglect.


It comes after charity Mencap published its findings of an investigation showing patients were denied care and left to die unnecessarily in NHS hospitals.

The deaths occurred at six different unnamed hospitals in the past four years, but Mencap said it provided evidence of institutional discrimination against people with learning disabilities.

The cases included that of a 43-year-old stroke patient who was unable to speak being left without food for 26 days. Staff failed to introduce a nasal feeding tube due a breakdown in communication.

The report comes three years after the charity claimed that patients with learning disabilities received lower standards of care. Although recognised by the government at the time, Mencap said no action was taken to tackle the problem.

This is the latest in a list of scandals involving systematic abuse and neglect of people with learning disabilities in NHS institutions.

Now Ms Hewitt has agreed to the charity’s request for an independent review into the six cases and any wider implications for the care of people with learning disabilities. The minister has also asked to meet the families of those involved.

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