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Improving the uptake of Annual Health Checks for people with learning disabilities

Published: 02/08/19

National Organisations work together to help more people with a learning disability have an Annual Health Check.

Improving the uptake of Annual Health Checks  for people with learning disabilities

A partnership of 4 organisations are looking into what things are getting in the way of people with a learning disability having their vital Annual Health Check. Current evidence already shows that these checks identify unmet health needs and reduce inequalities however, only 53% of people with a learning disability are having their Annual Health Check. The actual figure is known to be much higher as this only identifies those who are registered with their GP. The partnership will be investigating if there are particular barriers that can be overcome before coproducing a range of resources to improve the uptake.

Funded by Health Education England (HEE South), the 4 organisations:  The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), Learning Disability England (LDE), Skills for Care (SFC) and Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) will be working together to find out what the uptake of Annual Health Checks are across the south region, and if any particular groups of people are having difficulties in getting their check.

Madeline Cooper-Ueki, Programme Lead for Learning Disabilities at NDTi, explained why the partnership feel so strongly about furthering the impact of Annual Health Checks;

“Health inequalities are still rife, and yet, many cases are preventable, which is why Annual Health Checks are essential for people with a learning disability to find out about any health issues they may have early. Some barriers can be complex, so it’s important that we work together on this issue to fully understand how we can embed best practice in supporting people’s rights to equal healthcare”

The research will be looking into what various groups of people already know about how to support health checks for people from age 14 onwards. This will include staff in health, education and social care, people with learning disabilities and their families or PAs as well as volunteers and community groups. Where people are aware of Health Checks the partnership will be trying to find out what support already works to help people overcome any barriers in getting to their appointments. The findings will help test out new ways to enable support that will inform a range of free best practice resources available in Summer 2020.

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