Have you heard about the national health promotion scheme, Annual Health Checks, for people with learning disabilities?
The learning disabilities annual health check scheme is designed to encourage GP practices to identify all patients aged 14 and over with learning disabilities, to maintain a learning disabilities 'health check' register and offer them an annual health check, which will include producing a Health Action Plan. GPs can identify undetected health conditions and unmet need, ensure the appropriateness of ongoing treatments, establish trust, continuity of health care and enable greater patient independence and choice.
Nationally and locally, people with learning disabilities are dying from preventable and treatable conditions at a far higher rate than the general population. On average people with learning disabilities die 22 years (male) and 27 years (female) younger than the general population according to The English Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) 2019 University of Bristol: 4th Annual Report.
In 2019 people with learning disabilities died from avoidable medical causes (44%), twice as frequently as people in the general population (22%) and 34% of learning disabled people’s deaths were from treatable causes compared to 8% of the general population according to The English Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) 2019 University of Bristol: 4th Annual Report.
It is essential for the health outcomes of people with learning disabilities that Annual Health Checks are promoted and accessed. ‘The area has more work to do to ensure that primary care partners are effectively meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND. The completion of annual learning disability checks in Coventry is low, which does not support the identification of health needs in young adults who have a learning disability.’ Joint local area SEND inspection in Coventry 2019.
The Health Team, Grapevine, Coventry and Warwickshire, are a team of volunteers with learning disabilities, who are passionate about improving health outcomes, access to health services and screening programmes, such as the Annual Health Check Scheme, for their peers. They are genuinely concerned how few of their peers were being offered or accessing their annual health check and how shocking the health outcome data was. So, with the support of Grapevine, Coventry City Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group (Coventry, Rugby & Warwickshire North), they are promoting Annual Health Checks through their, ‘My Life, My Rights, My Health, My Choice! Campaign’.
The Health Team were really pleased that 40+ people attended the virtual campaign launch in September 2020, representing health, social care, education, care providers, and the voluntary sector, as well as parents and carers and people with learning disabilities. The successful event gave the attendees the opportunity to discuss the Annual Health Check scheme, barriers to uptake, removing such barriers and making pledges to support the campaign.
Since the launch, The Health Team have been encouraged by the support they have received and have met with different organisations from across statutory and the voluntary sectors, who are keen to support the promotion; incorporate questions about Annual Health Checks into assessment, planning and reviews, to improve uptake and health outcomes. They have delivered Annual Health Check Awareness workshops and distributed promotional materials. All online of course! There are more meetings and workshops planned that also include training health care professionals on working with people with learning disabilities and improving access to health care.
The Health Team are hoping as many people as possible will join their campaign to increase the uptake of Annual Health Checks and to improve health outcomes for people with learning disabilities.
For further information on the Campaign and Annual Health Checks, how you can join in or details of workshops please contact: [email protected]