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Physical Disability & Sensory Impairment - Data

Young girl in wheelchair


What you told us

Read the Consultation and Engagement report for the Strategic Plan 2022-25 (PDF)

Read the Consultation on Wheelchair Housing 2022 (PDF)

What the data tells us

Around 4,800 people between the ages of 16-64 have a physical impairment which affects their ability to undertake normal daily living tasks. This includes people born with impairment, those who have suffered an injury and those whose disability has developed as a result of an illness.

There are some national data sources on physical disability but these use a variety of definitions.

6.9% people identified themselves as living with a physical disability that had lasted or was expected to last at least 12 months. This was very close to the Scottish average of 6.7%.

3,292 adults (18 and over) known to the Adults and Social Care team have physical disability recorded as their primary care group (2022).

5,681 people have a blue badge.

1,200 people are recorded as wheelchair users.

There is 1 registered care home in Midlothian to support adults with a physical disability and 1 care home in the Southside of neighbouring Edinburgh which supports a number of Midlothian residents. There is no dedicated respite facility. There is an increase in support being provided in alternative ways with 27.7% of all funded respite requests in 2020 using options 1,2 or 4 of Self Directed Support.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted on this population group in several ways. Initial Scottish analysis suggests findings similar to England and Wales where people with a disability were twice as likely to die from Covid-19 compared to the non-disabled population. They are also more likely to have experienced an increase in loneliness and in disruption to their care serves. They are also more likely to have worked in sectors which have been hit hard by Covid-19.


Sensory impairment

Nationally it is estimated that 1 in 6 of the population have a hearing loss while significant sight loss is estimated to affect 1 in 30 of the population. We do not have accurate information on the numbers of people with sight or hearing loss in Midlothian. Given the broad nature of the census questions, the responses provide no breakdown within either category in terms of degree of impairment. The average percentage of people affected by either impairment in Midlothian is close to the average across Scotland.

Older people are most likely to experience some degree of hearing loss and the vast majority of those with sight loss are in the older age range. Between 40 to 50% of older adults with visually impairing eye disease limited their activities due to a fear of falling. It was noted that this protective strategy puts seniors at potential risk for social isolation and disability. People with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to have some degree of sight lost, again not always recognised. Sensory impairment can remain hidden for people who have had a stroke or live with dementia.

Hearing Loss
Hearing impaired adults with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.

At the last census 233 people were British Sign Language users and 5,656 people reported a hearing impairment.

Percentage of Midlothian’s population (by town) reporting deafness or partial hearing loss at last census.

The percentage of Midlothian’s population reporting deafness or partial hearing loss was in line with the national average at just under 7%. However, a number of towns in Midlothian were above national average, Penicuik had the highest levels, with over 8%, closely followed by Pathhead with just under 8%. Danderhall had the least, with less than 5.5% of residents reporting deafness or partial hearing loss.



Visual Impairment

38% of the Lothian population received an NHS eye test during the year 2019/20.

In Midlothian, 640 people are on the Royal National Institute of blind People Blind Register (315 as blind; 325 as partially sighted).

2,930 people are estimated to be living with sight loss in Midlothian in 2021.

Percentage of Midlothian’s population (by town) reporting blindness or partial sight loss at last census

2.3% of Midlothian’s population reported blindness or partial sight loss, slightly lower than the national average of 2.4%. However, a number of towns in Midlothian were above national average, Danderhall had the highest levels, with 3.2%, closely followed by Loanhead with 3%. Gorebridge and Roslin had the lowest rate, with 2% of residents reporting blindness or partial sight loss.