Health and social care access for adults with learning disabilities across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Samantha Flynn, Chris Hatton, David W F Abbott, Pauline Heslop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Purpose
This paper presents data about access to health and social care services during the COVID-19 pandemic for adults with learning disabilities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Methodology
Data were collected directly from 621 adults with learning disabilities and through separate proxy reports by family carers and paid support staff of another 378 adults with learning disabilities. The data were collected between December 2020 and February 2021, and concerned the use of health and social care services since the start of the first COVID-19 national lockdown in March 2020.

Findings
Access to and use of health and social care services significantly reduced for adults with learning disabilities across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic between March 2020 and February 2021, with many people not receiving any services at all during that period. Similar patterns were seen across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. However, data suggest some variations between countries for some services.

Implications
Future pandemic planning must ensure that access to these essential services is not completely lost for adults with learning disabilities and their family carers, as it was in some cases during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Originality
This is the largest study about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and social care services for adults with learning disabilities in the UK. We primarily collected data directly from adults with learning disabilities, and worked with partner organisations of people with learning disabilities throughout the study.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTizard Learning Disability Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jun 2021

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Research in Health and Social Care

Keywords

  • learning disabilities
  • health and social care
  • access to services
  • COVID-19

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