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Learning Disability Annual Health Checks – Information for young people, families and educational settings

Learning Disability Annual Health Checks – Information for young people, families and educational settings logo

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Learning Disability Annual Health Checks – Information for young people, families and educational settings

Annual Health Checks – what are they and why are they important?

People aged 14 or over who are on their GP's learning disability register can have a free learning disability annual health check once a year. 

Their GP practice will invite them. A call can be made to the GP by a parent/carer or the individual themselves, to make sure that a person with a learning disability is on their register. 

The annual health check is an evidence-based tool recommend by NICE. The purpose of an annual health check is to: 

  • Help identify and treat medical conditions early.
  • Screen for specific conditions and health issues particular to people with learning disabilities.
  • Ensure the appropriateness of ongoing treatments.
  • Improve access to generic health promotion.
  • Establish trust and support continuity of care.

What happens at an annual health check? 

A person with a learning disability will have an appointment with a GP or nurse, who will ask questions about health, how the person is feeling and give information and guidance on how to stay healthy.During the health check the GP or practice nurse will: 

  • Do a physical check-up, including weight, heart rate, blood pressure and may take blood and urine samples.
  • Talk about staying well and any help needed for this.
  • Review any medication being taken.
  • Talk about relationships and sexual health.
  • Check to see if vaccinations are up to date.
  • Ask about any health problem such as asthma, epilepsy or diabetes, to see how things are going.
  • Check if family and carers are getting the support they need.

For a young person with a learning disability, annual health checks help them to:

  • Develop a relationship with a trusted health professional.
  • Increase awareness of their personal health and wellbeing.
  • Take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
  • Learn how to communicate about their health needs.
  • Identify signs and symptoms early and reduce the risk of avoidable illness.

Other benefits of the annual health check:

Reassurance for family that a holistic health check has taken place for the young person with a learning disability.

An opportunity for the young person and family members to ask questions and discuss any concerns.

A key source of support for the young person’s health needs when transitioning into adulthood.

Increased awareness for the GP or nurse of the wider family impact of any health needs of the young person.

An opportunity to connect the young person’s health needs with their special education needs and disability (SEND) and if in place, Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Following an Annual Health check, a health action plan should be put in place:

A health action plan is a guide to a person’s health. It is made by the person with a learning disability and the people who know them best. 

It tells doctors and hospitals about the person’s health and the best ways to support them to get the right treatment and health care.

The health action plan can include appointments for example: opticians, dentist and hearing checks.

The health action plan can be written on paper or on an app on a phone or iPad.  It can also include objects of reference or symbol pictures/photographs to support a young person with learning disability to understand their health action plan.

The health action plan can be discussed at the EHCP Annual Review meeting so there is better understanding of health needs. 

Useful Links:

NICE – The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Learning Disabilities – Annual Health Checks – NHS 

Mencap 

Northants Parent Forum Group (NPFG) – an independent parent-led group formed and run by volunteers to represent the views of all families of children and young people up to the age of 25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in West and North Northamptonshire. 

Locality
  • Brackley Area
  • Corby Area
  • Daventry Area
  • East Northants Area
  • Kettering Area
  • Northampton Area
  • Towcester Area
  • Wellingborough Area
  • North Northamptonshire
  • West Northamptonshire
  • Northamptonshire
Age range
Suitable for ages from 14 years to 99 years
Referral route
Self Referral
For people with
Learning Disabilities
Eligibility criteria
Diagnosis
Provider category
Specialist Services - For those who require longer-term support
Disclaimer

Publication on the Local Offer does not endorse a provider, so please take reasonable steps to ensure that any service found on the Local Offer is suitable for your family member. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

Last updated 23 February 2024