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Learning disabilities

There were 1,050 people (all ages) registered as having a learning disability at GP practices in Herefordshire in 2020/21, according to the latest available data[1]. This represents a prevalence of 0.6% of the population, which is statistically significantly higher than in England and the West Midlands (both 0.5%).

Modelled estimates suggest that GP registers reflect less than a quarter of all adults with LD, and that the true number in Herefordshire is likely to be around 3,800 people (2.3% of the adult population)[2] . This is predicted to increase by around 300 (8%) by 2035, disproportionately in the number aged 65+ years.

Figure 1: Estimated numbers of people with a learning disability and numbers known to services in Herefordshire

Learning disability prevalence in Herefordshire

Herefordshire Council currently provided long-term social care support to around 600 adults because of a learning disability in 2019/20[3].

Herefordshire Council currently provided long-term social care support to around 600 adults because of a learning disability in 2019/20.

People with learning disabilities are offered a range of community based activities across the county at a number of locations. The activities include horticultural work such as animal husbandry and growing plants plus greenwood working and other land based skills, furniture restoration and woodworking skills, theatre and performing arts, creative artwork including crafting, basketry, weaving and painting as well as retail and catering.

These opportunities are provided by a number of charities, community interest companies and private providers.  There are no council run LD community activities within the county.  Around 5% of working age adults with LD who are supported by the council are in paid employment, similar to the level nationally.

In 2020, there were around 700 children with learning difficulties known to schools in Herefordshire[1]. The proportion of children with learning disabilities (30 per 1,000) is similar to nationally (34 per 1,000), but significantly lower than regionally (50 per 1,000).

Although having a learning ‘difficulty’ does not always imply a learning ‘disability’, the likelihood is that for the majority of individuals this will be the case. In Herefordshire, in 2020, 30 per 1,000 pupils in state funded primary, secondary and special schools were known to have learning difficulties; significantly lower than the proportion nationally (34 per 1,000) and regionally (49 per 1,000). The proportion with either moderate or profound and multiple learning difficulties known to schools are both consistently below the national. In contrast, the proportion with severe learning difficulties known to schools is higher than nationally and regionally; between 6-7 per 1,000 since 2015 – 2020 compared to around 4 per 1,000 nationally and regionally.   

There was an in-depth learning disabilities needs assessment carried out in 2018.  Although some data have been updated since then, this report provides a deeper insight to the learning disability population in Herefordshire and can be downloaded from related documents.

[1] Learning Disability Profile, Office for Health Improvement & Disparities

[2] Projecting Adult Needs and Service Information System (PANSI) and the Projecting Older People Population Information System (POPPI), Institute of Public Care (IPC) and ONS Crown copyright 2020

[3] Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), NHS Digital