The Health of People with Learning Disabilities in the UK: Evidence and Implications for the NHS

Johan Elliott, Chris Hatton, Eric Emerson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The paper presents a comprehensive review of the UK research literature on the health needs of people with learning disabilities, and the response of mainstream health services to those health needs. Evidence from the review, although limited in some areas, clearly demonstrates that people with learning disabilities in the UK have significantly poorer health than the UK population generally in a number of priority areas for the NHS. Furthermore, people with learning disabilities have particularly poor health in a number of additional areas involving significant mainstream NHS resources. Despite these considerably greater health needs, people with learning disabilities receive poorer support from mainstream health services, across primary care, hospital services and screening programmes.The findings of the review indicate that mainstream NHS services should not only include people with learning disabilities, but also prioritise them as a particularly vulnerable group requiring urgent attention if general NHS priorities for health inequalities and service standards are to be met.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Integrated Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Health
  • Health Inequalities
  • Incidence
  • Learning Disability
  • Prevalence


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