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U.K. Watchdog Group: ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders Given To COVID Patients With Learning Disabilities

U.K. Watchdog Group: ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Orders Given To COVID Patients With Learning Disabilities


A watchdog group in the United Kingdom has claimed that patients with learning disabilities who were infected with coronavirus were given do not resuscitate orders.

Mencap is a group that focuses on helping people with learning disabilities. According to a report by The Guardian, the group “said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19.”This follows a report by The Guardian last year about deaths in care homes:

Do-not-resuscitate orders were wrongly allocated to some care home residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, causing potentially avoidable deaths, the first phase of a review by England’s Care Quality Commission has found.

Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitations (DNACPRs) are typically reserved for people who are too frail to benefit from CPR, but the group said that some seem to have been ordered for people simply because they had a learning disabilityThe Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. The organization is due to publish a report on the “do not resuscitate” practice in the coming weeks.

The Guardian reported:

NHS figures released last week show that in the five weeks since the third lockdown began, Covid-19 accounted for 65% of deaths of people with learning disabilities. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the rate for the general population was 39%, although the two statistics are drawn from different measurements.

According to Public Health England, younger people with learning disabilities between the ages of 18 and 34 are 30 times more likely to die from COVID than other people who are the same age.

Mencap’s chief executive, Edel Harris, commented on the importance of people with learning disabilities getting priority for vaccines.

Harris said, “Throughout the pandemic many people with a learning disability have faced shocking discrimination and obstacles to accessing healthcare, with inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices put on their files and cuts made to their social care support.”

“It’s unacceptable that within a group of people hit so hard by the pandemic, and who even before Covid died on average over 20 years younger than the general population, many are left feeling scared and wondering why they have been left out,” Harris continued.

“The JCVI [The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] and government must act now to help save the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people by urgently prioritising all people with a learning disability for the vaccine.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care reportedly said, “It is completely unacceptable for ‘do not attempt CPR’ decisions to be applied in a blanket fashion to any group of people. This has never been policy and we have taken action to prevent this from happening. … We have asked the CQC to undertake a review of notices issued during the pandemic. This review has started and will report later this year. As this proceeds, we will continue to work across the health and care system to address the issue.”

The Daily Wire has reached out to Mencap for comment..

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