Learning Disability Annual Health Checks

A GP showing a patient an information leaflet The Annual Health Check aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities. People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services.

GP surgeries across Southampton are now offering Annual Health Checks to people aged 14 years and older with a profound, severe, moderate or mild learning disability, who have several health needs and are on the learning disability register.   

The Annual Health Check is completed by a health professional at the patients GP practice and involves assessing, monitoring and treating any existing health conditions as well as detecting any undiagnosed health conditions.

At the end of the health check the health professional will develop an easy read Health Check Action Plan which will detail health goals for the patient and who is responsible for achieving these goals.

For further information about the Annual Health Check and what is involved, NHS Choices and Mencap have useful information on their websites.

Care for someone with a learning disability? Don’t let them miss out

A graphic with the wording If you care for someone with a learning disability, they can get extra support when visiting their doctor – all you or they have to do is ask for their name to be added to the GP learning disability register. You can help them do this by talking to their doctor’s surgery or use this template letter. Complete this letter and give it to the doctor during their next appointment.

Once on the register they can speak to their doctor about having a free Annual Health Check every year. There are lots of reasons why they should have their Annual Health Check if their doctor says they can have one, including:

  • Not always knowing if they are unwell – the doctor can spot signs that you or the individual might miss,
  • Getting better treatment – for example new medication
  • It offers an opportunity for them to talk to the doctor about anything worrying them
  • The doctor can provide advice on lifestyle choices, such as diet
  • They can have more control in their own health and body

Make sure the doctor gives them a health action plan after the health check – this includes goals for them and the doctor to work towards together.

Another way you can ensure they are getting the very best healthcare is by supporting them to give their doctor consent for their information to be shared. With the individuals permission, or in some cases the carer or family members permission, the doctor can add additional information to the individuals Summary Care Record (SCR).

Everyone has a SCR – speak to the doctor about the individual giving consent for Additional Information (AI) to be stored, this can include details of their learning disability, any physical/sensory disability, communication needs, contact details of a carer or next of kin etc., allows all health professionals who care for them to know their latest needs and requirements.

Find out more about the learning disability register on the Mencap website