Improving the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities

People with a learning disability can sometimes find it difficult to identify any health issues they may be having. To make this easier, we created a checklist to help people with a learning disability get the most out their annual health check.
The first two sections on the checklist. The first is 'my name is' with a space to write your name. The second is 'my main carer is' with a space to write their name.

More than 1000 people aged 18 and over in South Gloucestershire are believed to have a moderate or severe learning disability. 

People with a learning disability often have poorer physical and mental health than those without a learning disability, and also have a lower life expectancy. Annual health checks are carried out by a GP or a nurse, and are available to people with a learning disability for a number of reasons:

  • to improve the early detection rates of certain health conditions, such as cancer and heart disease, 

  • to check that any ongoing treatments are appropriate,

  • to help people become more familiar with their GP, and feel more able to let them know if something doesn't feel right.

To help people with a learning disability, their loved ones, and carers make the most of the annual health check, we created a checklist to help people recognise when things aren’t right, know how to keep healthy, and feel confident speaking up and seeking help. You can download the checklist below.

Downloads

Learning Disability annual health check checklist

Since we published the checklist, it has been shared with the South Gloucestershire Learning Disability Team, and learning disability leads in GP practices. It has also been handed out by The Hive Avon, who run training, life skills workshops, and support groups for people with learning disabilities and autism, and their parents and carers. 

Dr Juliane Matthies, a GP Partner at The Orchard Medical Centre – who have begun using the checklist – said the checklist is particularly helpful when a patient is able to fill it out before their appointment, giving the nurse conducting the health check the opportunity to pick up on anything that has been raised ahead of time. 

It’s brilliant and you must use it! Makes the appointment much more efficient.
— Dr Juliane Matthies, GP Partner at The Orchard Medical Centre

Speaking to the BBC in June 2021, Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Area Manager, Vicky Marriott, said: "we recently listened to people with learning disabilities and their families and developed with them an accessible info-sheet packed full of easy-to-read explanations about the lifesaving benefits of annual health checks."

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