A poll of hundreds of hospital doctors and GPs has found most believe patients with a learning disability get poorer care than the rest of the population.

The General Medical Council polled 400 doctors across the UK. More than one in three reported having personally seen a patient with a learning disability suffer poor care or face a form of discrimination.

Three quarters of the doctors quizzed also said they needed better online advice on treating patients with a learning disability and more help was needed.

Disability charity Mencap has claimed the NHS routinely fails to care for patients in line with the Equality Act and has criticised providers for poor standards.

Its chief exectutive Mark Goldring said: “It is clear from the GMC survey that many doctors recognise the care of people with a learning disability is simply not good enough. It is not right they continue to receive a poorer standard of healthcare than the rest of the population despite having greater health needs.”

The GMC also today launched a new online resource offering doctors practical advice for treating patients with learning disabilities.

Included within the website is advice on communicating with a patient, seeking consent and assessing an individual’s need.

Doctors can also gain a cerificate for doctors to demonstrate the skills they develop from using it.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: “We know that too often patients who have a learning disability receive poorer treatment and that sometimes health professionals fail to see past the patient’s disability to identify underlying physical problems.

“We hope this advice and support will be useful to doctors and others who want to make sure patients with learning disabilities are given the best possible care and treatment.”