Signposting - Health & wellbeing - G.P.s Learning Disability Register


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Section: Signposting

Subsection: Signposting - Health & wellbeing

G.P.s Learning Disability Register

Did you know that over 1 million people have a learning disability in the UK but only 200,000 are on the GP Learning Disability Register?

Evidence shows that young people with a learning disability often have difficulties accessing health services and face inequalities in the service they receive. Some steps have been taken to improve the situation, such as the introduction of annual health checks for those with learning disabilities (LD), but one of the key challenges is that many of this group are not actually known to their local GP. Increasing the number of young people with learning disabilities who are on their GP’s LD Register, will help to ensure that better and more person centred health care will be offered to these young people.

Have you contacted your GP to make sure that if your child has a learning disability it is flagged on their electronic record with the GP? This will enable your child to be called for their annual health check from the age of 14.

People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services. Regular health checks can detect treatable illnesses and help prevent more serious ones, as well as familiarising the young person with the GP practice which they may use throughout their adult life.

Health services have a duty to make changes to their services (reasonable adjustments), so that they are easier for people with learning disabilities to use. Unless a patient’s learning disability status is registered on the GP systems, then reasonable adjustments to care for that individual cannot be anticipated and made.

The benefits of being on the register are:-

  • Better and more person centred health care for those individuals
  • Better information about the health needs of people with learning disabilities in a given locality
  • Better planning of health and care services for people with learning disabilities
  • An ability to anticipate an individual’s needs before they attend health or care settings
  • Better understanding and integration of needs across health, care, education and employment
  • Better transition planning for young people with learning disabilities who are leaving school or college and approaching adulthood

Education, Health and Care Plans (the Wiltshire MY Plan)

In addition to encouraging parent carers to ensure that their child with a learning disability is on their local GP LD Register, the WPCC has been encouraging our Local Authority to include the sharing of Education, Health and Care Plans with GPs as part of the local process. Families would need to give their permission for this to happen but this would be a positive step in increasing GPs' awareness of young people with disabilities or additional needs in their practice area.

Developing a relationship with GPs becomes increasingly important as young people with disabilities prepare for adulthood and move into adult services. The importance of good information sharing and in particular the value of sharing Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC) with GPs has been recognised by the Department for Education (DfE). An article the DfE recently sent to all Local Authorities (LAs) stated the following:-
"Sharing information between organisations is critical to providing effective, joined-up care, particularly for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. That is why we strongly urge LAs to share appropriate information with local GP practices. EHC plans provide an ideal way into this. Please make sure, with the parent’s or young person’s consent, that you share the plan with the GP and ask that the child or young person is included on their register of learning disability."

This link will take you to a draft letter which can be adapted and sent to your GP. Alternatively you can ring up and ask that your child’s learning disability is flagged on their electronic medical record. G.P. Letter

Please note that not all GPs have signed up to deliver the annual health check from the age of 14, but it is worth following up with your GP to make sure the ongoing health needs of your child are anticipated.

The following weblinks contain more information on the annual health check for people with learning disabilities.

NHS Choices:

Public Health England – Improving Health and Lives:-

Mencap easy read leaflet for young people and adults with learning disabilities on what the health check should consist of:-