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Child health
Patterns of health service utilisation by children with intellectual disabilities require specific responses to reduce health inequalities
  1. Michael Brown1,
  2. Lynne Marsh2
  1. 1 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  2. 2 Nursing and Midwifery, Queen's University Belfast Centre for Biomedical Sciences Education, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Michael Brown, Queens University Belfast School of Nursing and Midwifery, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK; m.j.brown{at}

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Commentary on: Nicholson E, Doherty E, Guerin S, Schreiber J, Barrett M, McAuliffe E. Healthcare utilisation and unmet health needs in children with intellectual disability: a propensity score matching approach using longitudinal cohort data. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2022 May;66(5):442–453. doi: 10.1111/jir.12927. Epub 2022 Mar 14.

Implications for practice and research

  • Practitioners need to respond to the health disparities of children with intellectual disabilities.

  • Cohort data comparisons designs are necessary to identify healthcare use and impact on health outcomes.


An intellectual disability is a lifelong developmental condition experienced by some 2% of the population. Due to their health concerns, children with intellectual disabilities can present with multiple comorbidities and are two to four times more likely to experience unmet health needs than those without intellectual disabilities. The complexity of health needs is associated with the intellectual disability. Consequently, many require access to …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.