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Health and Care of People with Learning Disabilities: Standardised Mortality Ratio Indicator compares the number of deaths occurring in the learning disabilities population, aged 0–74, to those that would be expected for people of the same characteristics in the general population.
This comparison is made at a national level (England) and is also broken down into different areas of the country.
It can be used to explore life expectancy and the causes of mortality among people with learning disabilities, which could help to improve health outcomes and life expectancy in this group.
What the data can tell you
The purpose of the indicator is to compare the number of deaths for the learning disabilities population with the number of deaths that would be expected, based on figures for the general population. Health bodies and commissioning organisations can use this indicator as a prompt to investigate mortality outcomes for specific areas.
What the data cannot tell you
This indicator should not be used to directly compare mortality outcomes between areas and it is inappropriate to rank areas according to their indicator value. Year-on-year comparison of a specific area is not advised due to the method of construction and calculation.
The difference between the number of observed deaths and the number of expected deaths cannot be interpreted as the number of avoidable deaths. Whether or not a death could have been prevented can only be investigated by a detailed case note review and the indicator is not a direct measure of quality of care.
The expected number of deaths is not an actual count of patients, but is a statistical construct which estimates the number of deaths that may be expected in an area on the basis of average England figures and the characteristics of the patients within that area.
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