DSA Statement on death of ‘Paul’ from Newham

The Down’s Syndrome Association was shocked and appalled by the recent revelations about the death of a man with Down’s syndrome, who developed gangrene whilst living in a supported living setting in Newham.

This distressing case represents failings at a very basic level.

The care provider failed to offer even the most basic standards of care while also failing to properly train staff to meet the specific needs of a vulnerable individual.

Paul was not given the support he needed. As a result of this neglect he died from complications of a condition which should have been preventable. Sadly, Paul’s story is not unique and we are aware of a number of cases where individuals with Down’s syndrome have died prematurely where their care has fallen short of the standards they have a right to expect.

We watch closely for the recommendations made by the LeDeR programme, established to review and learn for any death of an individual with a learning disability.

Today the Government has announced it’s 10 Year Plan for the NHS. We are pleased to see that people with a learning disability have been identified as a priority. The plan states: “Across the NHS, we will do more to ensure that all people with a learning disability, autism, or both can live happier, healthier, longer lives. The whole NHS will improve its understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities and autism, and work together to improve their health and wellbeing.”

It is of grave concern to us that, in the twenty-first century, some individuals with Down’s syndrome are being denied good quality care. These failings represent a human rights outrage.