Panorama “Will the NHS Care for Me?”

Panorama “Will the NHS Care for Me?” led by actor Tommy Jessop highlighted why people with a learning disability are more than twice as likely to die from avoidable causes than the rest of the population.

The programme featured Sharon Bourne whose son Robert has Fragile X Syndrome. When Robert needed chemotherapy to treat cancer palliative care was offered. She instructed a solicitor to challenge the decision in court and he was successfully treated with modified chemotherapy.

Viv Cooper, CEO says:

“People with learning disabilities have the same right to healthcare as everyone else. Discrimination should have no place in the NHS yet time and time again we see people with learning disabilities being denied treatment and dying prematurely. People with severe learning disabilities can find it difficult to understand complex information about health care treatment and to co-operate with treatment plans but by making reasonable adjustments and working with people who know the person lives can be saved. The government must show that it values the lives of people with learning disabilities and take urgent action to address the health inequalities faced by people with a learning disability. This includes action to address the repeated failure of NHS Trusts meet their legal duties to offer reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act and ensure the Mental Capacity Act is followed.”

To watch Panorama “Will the NHS Care for Me?” click on the button below:

Will the NHS Care for Me? (BBC)

Support from the CBF

Resources on our website

The CBF has information available for anyone who has concerns about the issues raised which can be found here:

Health and challenging behaviour

Reasonable adjustments

Family Support Service

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this statement, you can call the Family Support Service on 0300 666 0126

Or email us at

We are open at the following times:

Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm Friday: 9am – 3pm

We offer information about challenging behaviour to anyone who provides support to a child, young person or adult with a severe learning disability. We can also signpost you to other specialist organisations and sources of information.

Please note we are a small support service so you may not be able to get support straight away. We will support families with urgent concerns as a priority.

Professionals are also welcome to contact the CBF.