This paper reviews what is known about the history of healthcare and people with learning difficulties in the UK. After a brief review of healthcare practice in the era of institutions, it looks at developments in policy and practice since healthcare for people with learning difficulties was 'mainstreamed' in the late twentieth century.
It argues that although policy says all the right things, and practice has improved in some areas, there is still a very long way to go before we can be certain that discrimination against people with learning difficulties is eliminated from healthcare practice.
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Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
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