NHS Calls on People with Learning Disabilities to Access Health Check

Article excerpt

NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) supported Learning Disability Week by raising awareness of the right of everyone with learning disability to have an annual health check.

If you or someone you care for has a learning disability you are entitled to ask for a health check from your GP.

The number of people with a learning disability in South Tees is higher than the national average and it's important to remember that people with a learning disability often die at a younger age. 26% of people with learning disabilities are admitted to hospital every year, compared to only 14% of the general population.

The difference between a learning difficulty and a learning disability is that learning disability affects the way a person learns new things, understands information and how they communicate.

This means some people can have difficulty: Understanding new or complex information Learning new skills Coping independently Adults with learning disability can suffer from poorer health.

Respiratory disease is the main cause of death amongst the learning disabled and is three times higher than that of the general population. This is why the annual health check is so important and currently less than half those who are entitled to one, receive it.

Looking after general health and wellbeing such as diet and exercise combined with testing for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and screening, play an important role.

People with learning disabilities may experience difficulty accessing care that meets their needs. This may include extra time and support for care that care that meets their needs.

This may include: extra time and support for appointments, the opportunity to have information presented in a form they can understand and the involvement of family carers.

In South Tees, the CCG is making a commitment to delivering real change and aims to make improvements that lead to better long term health outcomes. The CCG's vision is "Improving Health Together".

To achieve this they are integrating health and social care services and working closely with local authorities, public health, MIND and other private sector organisations to achieve good quality effective services.

There is evidence of good partnership work locally but the CCG recognises that there are still challenges and improvements to be made to ways of working which will ensure future services fit local needs.

The CCG recently appointed a clinical lead for learning disabilities, Pam McNeice, and they will soon be appointing a clinical lead for autism. …