Health checks for people with learning disabilities
We are working with local GPs to increase the uptake of annual health checks by people with learning disabilities More than 1,300 Lambeth residents are known to have learning disabilities and regular health checks can prevent illness or identify early signs, so that earlier treatment improves the outcomes, and so enable people with learning disabilities and their carers to manage conditions and access care in a timely way if they need it.
The health checks are usually carried out in the patient’s own GP surgery and take less than an hour. But they are very important. Many health problems affect people with learning disabilities more than others, including epilepsy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental health problems. For many of these conditions, spotting them early and managing them actively makes a real difference.
Local GP and Lambeth CCG chair Dr Adrian McLachlan said: "In the UK, people with learning disabilities die on average 25 years earlier than those without, and I don’t think that is good enough.
"As a local GP, I want us to do the best we can for all our patients, so I see this as a serious equalities issue – one that we must take seriously. We are determined to make sure that all Lambeth patients with learning disabilities know about health checks and are encouraged to have theirs every year.
"So, we have set an ambitious target. We are aiming for nearly everyone (95%) with a learning disability to have a regular health check. We know that almost half the adults in Lambeth with learning disabilities live with their parents, so getting the message out to carers is crucial, and we are working closely with local voluntary groups.
"Finally, we need to get information about health checks to the people that need it, so we have made a short animated video, which you can see here
, and we are distributing an excellent booklet produced by our friends at Mencap."