Learning disability charity Mencap has welcomed the first Mandate between the Government and the NHS Commissioning Board, which includes two objectives specifically relating to people with learning disabilities.

The Mandate sets out the ambitions for the health service for the next two years. In it are two key Government objectives that for the first time specifically mention people with learning disabilities: to ensure people have a positive experience of care and to prevent people dying prematurely. 

Mencap statistics show that people with a learning disability are 58 times more likely to die before the age of 50 and four times as many people with a learning disability die of preventable causes than the general population.

Following Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundations’ lobbying over the abuse suffered by people while they were at Winterbourne View, the charity welcomes the Board objective to ensure clinical commissioning groups “work with local authorities to ensure that vulnerable people, particularly those with learning disability and autism, receive safe, appropriate, high quality care.”

The Mandate has been drawn up following consultation with the public, health professionals and key organisations across the health system between July and September 2012.

Emma Harrison, assistant director at Mencap said: “We are particularly delighted that the Department of Health has recognised that, where possible, services are local and that people remain in their communities. While much still remains to be done to improve health outcomes for people with learning disabilities, Mencap feels this is a big step forward.”