Equality and access to general healthcare for people with learning disabilities: Reality or rhetoric?

Michael Brown, Juliet MacArthur, Andrew McKechanie, Matthew Hayes, Joan Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contributes to the growing debate relating to meeting the health needs of people with learning disabilities when accessing general health services. It is set within the context of a population that has historically experienced poor care and treatment. This is despite legislation to protect vulnerable groups and clear government policies setting out the need to support people with learning disabilities to lead full and equal lives, providing additional support when needed. The evidence surrounding the health needs of people with learning disabilities is presented, along with the resultant implications for health services. This is set alongside emerging evidence that seeks to address the shortfalls and failings that, in some cases, are known to have contributed to premature and often needless death. Particular focus is given to a study that has evaluated the impact of learning disability liaison nursing services that have been developed to support the care of people with a learning disability to access hospital services. This paper stresses the need to further develop and evolve the research evidence base on what works to improve the health of people with learning disabilities, enhance their experience of care and minimise the risk of harm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Bibliographical note

School: sch_nur


  • learning disabilities health needs policy social inclusion discrimination

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