A recently published study by Trollor et al, 2017, (http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/2/e013489) confirms that substantial health inequities remain for people with intellectual disability (ID). In a large population based cohort study in NSW that included 42 204 people with ID, median age of death of people with ID was 54 years, compared to 81 years in the general population, with 38% being due to potentially treatable conditions. Respiratory and neurological causes of death were particularly common, with the overall comparable mortality figure of 1.3.

This study is ground breaking in Australia given its size and that it systematically examines mortality in a large population of people with ID who use disability services. Although there are limitations to the study, the policy implications for health and disability services are undeniable. Whole of system responses are urgently required to address existing barriers to prevention, early detection and treatment of health conditions experienced by people with ID.

Please see the following 730 Report, aired on the ABC on February 7, 2017 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-08/study-finds-intellectually-disabled-two-times-preventable-death/8248772, and NSW Council for Intellectual Disability to read more about their efforts to improve the health of people with ID (http://www.nswcid.org.au/).