Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health: Protect any more vulnerable patients with a learning disability from dying due to poor and unequal care.
I had two children with disabilities. Now I only have one.
My daughter Tina died aged just 23 because she wasn’t given the right treatment. She wasn’t given the right treatment because of her disability.
You expect all patients to receive the same care, compassion, dignity and respect. This isn't always the case when a person with a learning disability becomes ill.
It wasn’t the case for our Tina - she was failed repeatedly by those services that were meant to help her. She wasn’t given the treatment she needed, and even her basic needs were neglected.
My husband and I suffer every day with feelings of guilt, feeling that we let our daughter down when she needed us most.
But, we are not alone in this. As many as 1,200 other people with a learning disability are dying every year in England because they are not being given the correct treatment. Each of them leaves behind family and loved ones who have to come to terms with their loss. Try and imagine how that feels.
We really need your support to help us fight for the government to put in place strong actions to safeguard individuals with disabilities against discriminative practices that put their lives at risk.
Families need to know that, when their loved one becomes ill and needs treatment, they will receive the best treatment possible for their condition.
You can't imagine how fearful we are every time our other daughter becomes ill and she either has to visit a doctor or go to hospital.
I wasn’t able to save Tina, but I can still protect my other daughter. We just need your help.
You can hear more about our story by watching this video which was produced by the Guardian.
- Secretary of State for Health
Please take firm action to protect any more vulnerable patients with a learning disability dying due to poor and unequal care.
I have read Christine Papalabropoulos’ story about the death of her daughter Tina, who was profoundly disabled. She died aged 23 after being failed repeatedly by those services that were meant to help her. She wasn’t given the treatment she needed and even her basic needs were neglected. Her life was deemed not worth saving because of her disability. This is simply unacceptable.
Research has shown that as many as 1,200 children and adults with a learning disability are dying in England every year due to the poor care they receive. That’s equivalent to the Mid Staffs scandal happening every year - just for people with a learning disability.
You owe it to Tina and her family, and thousands of others like them, to take urgent action to protect any more vulnerable patients with a learning disability from dying due to discriminatory practices and poor care.
You have the power to get it right by putting a firm action plan in place now. This cannot be put off any longer.
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