One in ten disabled people in UK have complex disabilities

New research published today highlights the scale of disabilities in the UK, with one in ten disabled people having complex disabilities in the country.

The research, conducted by disability charity Sense in partnership with the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), found that of the 14.1 million disabled people living in the UK, 1.6 million have complex disabilities. This figure is expected to grow to 2 million people by the end of the decade.

This is the firs time an estimate has been made on the number of children and adults with complex disabilities in the UK, with regional breakdowns down to local authority and constituency level.

Sense says that the failure to recognise the inter-connected nature of people’s needs has resulted in gaps in service provision. Where someone’s needs are not understood, complex needs can result in challenging behaviour, resulting in services that are not delivered in a way that meets that person’s needs. 

Richard Kramer, Sense Chief Executive, said: ‘We know that services for disabled people with complex needs are required by more and more people. This ground-breaking research helps to deepen our understanding of the scale of disabilities in the UK. It will mean that, for the first time, local authorities and the NHS will have information and data to understand the number of people with complex disabilities living in their area.

‘Too often support and services are based around individual conditions and disabilities rather than looking at an individual’s range of needs. As a result, people with complex disabilities often struggle to get the care and support they need.

‘We hope that this research will provide a significant milestone and enable local authorities and the NHS to use this information to develop a joined-up approach to policy making, assessment of need, service delivery and support. It will also encourage providers to tailor their support to better meet the needs of people with complex disabilities, allowing them to achieve the best possible outcomes.’

Dr Sokratis Dinos, Director of Health at NatCen, added: ‘For the first time, this research shows the wide variation in the number of people estimated to have complex disabilities in different local authorities and constituencies.

‘The findings highlight that some areas have more people with complex disabilities aged 65 or over, while other areas have more local people of working age with complex disabilities. These insights can help with understanding the needs of people experiencing complex disabilities living in different areas, and the services best suited to assist them.

‘We hope this research will support and inform the delivery of local services for people with complex disabilities across the UK.’

Photo supplied by Sense


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