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Stat of the day: More than one impairment

By Angela Matthews

Today I am looking at statistics on types of impairments for a Partner. I thought I’d made a massive mistake somewhere along the line when I added up the percentages for the occurrences of each impairment type and came out with a whopping 265 per cent. I thought that I had definitely made a mistake.

But I hadn’t. My huge percentage was due to today’s ‘stat of the day’: 44 per cent of the UK population have at least three impairments (Source: Life Opportunities Survey, Wave 2, 2012).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) usually collect data for the Life Opportunities Surveys in two ‘waves’. This usually means that data is looked at twice a year for this survey type. The 2012 figures report that people’s impairments during Wave 1 were often different to that reported in Wave 2. This illustrates that, sometimes, people’s health conditions are not ‘fixed’ – or, in the ONS’ words, “are liable to change”.

This is also perhaps relevant to Tuesday’s ‘stat of the day’ where I wrote about the GP who was talking about treating ‘symptoms’ rather than focusing on a diagnosis. When the advice team are discussing adjustments with our Members, the key information we look for is how a condition affects a person, or the barrier that the person is facing. In many cases, the name of the condition or the diagnosis does not matter. This is especially relevant since the ONS’ largest impairment category is “long-term pain” (affecting 66 % of the UK population) – a ‘condition’ which is not always a symptom of a specific underlying impairment.

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