Book an annual health check
People with learning disabilities and their carers are being urged to make sure they visit their GP for an annual health check as part of a new national campaign which aims to improve access to care.
NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding anyone who is aged 14 or over and has a learning disability to take up the chance for a free check at their doctor’s surgery each year.
During the check, the GP will check a patient’s weight, heart rate and blood pressure, as well as asking questions about their lifestyle and mental health. They will also review any medication the patient is taking and make sure they are successfully managing any long-term conditions they may have, such as asthma or diabetes.
The checks are designed to give GPs the chance to monitor the patient’s health and pick up any issues early, in turn making sure they receive the right treatment and care.
The call comes as Mencap and NHS England launch a new campaign which encourages people to tell their doctor if they have a learning disability so that they can be added to a register which shows they may need extra support and advice.
Called ‘don’t miss out’, the campaign comes in response to figures which show that 77% of people with a learning disability are not on their GP’s register, which could be impacting their health.
In addition, only 44% receive an annual health check, despite evidence showing that people with learning disabilities often suffer health inequalities, with 1,200 avoidable deaths every year.
Kim Arber, head of mental health and learning disabilities, said: “Evidence shows that people with learning disabilities can suffer poorer health as it is more difficult for them to access help and support. That is why it is so important to they visit to their GP and ask for an annual health check.
“The health check gives GPs an important opportunity to review all aspects of the patient’s health, and can also help them to pick up any issues at an early stage so that treatment can begin quickly.”
For more information about the Mencap campaign, visit www.mencap.org.uk/dontmissout
published on 13/04/2017