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Learning Disability Health Checks

Wakefield exceeds national Learning Disability Annual Health Checks target

Wakefield has shown its commitment to the needs of people with learning disabilities through its work on Annual Health Checks (AHCs).

AHCs are free for people aged 14 and over who have a learning disability. Their GP practice will invite them for an appointment that will look at blood pressure and heart rate, weight and keeping active, medication and behaviour, mental health and wellbeing.

An example of an invitation to a health check

Nationally, NHS England’s ambition in 2019/20 was for 75 per cent of people on GP Learning Disability Registers to have an Annual Health Check by March 2020.

In 2019/20 the Wakefield system completed 79 per cent of annual health checks, surpassing this target and continuing an upward trajectory following previous yearly rates of 44 per cent (2016/17), 51 per cent (2017/18) and 67 per cent (2018/19).

The Strategic Health Facilitator Fiona Sharp has worked closely with our 37 GP Practices to achieve these important health checks for our patients with learning disabilities.

Fiona devised an e-learning health facilitation package for support workers. This included information about how to support people with learning disabilities at the GP’s and during health checks.

The package is available free to all care providers, NHS and voluntary workers across the Wakefield and Pontefract area.

Learning disabilities health checks can help people with learning disabilities to use health services better by understanding what their local GP service can provide for them and learning how to use it.

As well as being beneficial to the individual, AHCs are valuable because they can lead to the identification of blind spots in systems and process as well as identifying previously undiagnosed conditions.

There is a national drive to continue with Learning Disability AHCs. Concerns remain regarding how to do so safely but phone and video consultations are being considered and work is underway to identify interventions such as physical observations that need to be completed within a certain time frame at the practice.

In Wakefield the aim of the project is to strengthen self-advocacy of people with lived experience of learning disabilities and to continue to increase the uptake.