Mencap is a leading UK charity who work to improve the lives of people with a learning disability. Their definition of a learning disability is “a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life”.
People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people.
People with learning difficulties may also take longer to learn and require additional support. However, unlike learning disabilities, learning difficulties such as dyslexia and ADHD do not affect general intelligence.
People with learning disabilities often experience poorer physical and mental health than other people in their communities. But this doesn’t have to be the case. One way we can ensure people with learning disabilities get the healthcare they need is through annual health checks.
If you’re over the age of 14 and have a learning disability, you’re eligible for an annual health check. As they happen once a year, you should have received an invite to your health check within the last 12 months. If you haven't received one, you should contact your GP.
If you did receive an invite, but didn't attend your health check, we'd like to encourage you to rearrange one through your GP practice.
During your annual health check, either a doctor or nurse will assess how healthy you are.
This is important because if anything's wrong then the doctor or nurse can sort it out before it gets worse. They will check things like your height, weight and blood pressure. They will also give you advice on how to stay well.
Take a look at our Easy Read guides to GP appointments and annual health checks.
Here's a short video on what to expect from your annual health check.
We’ve worked with Essex County Council to create the below documents. These documents have been designed to support patients with a learning disability to get the most out of their annual health checks. Your GP should post a Pre-Health Check Questionnaire and Gold Standard Health Check document to you when they send you your annual health check invite.
If you don't receive these at the same time as your health check invite, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
The Pre-Health Check Questionnaire will help you prepare for the appointment. You should take your completed Pre-Health Check Questionnaire with you to your health check. The nurse or doctor seeing you will use this information during your health check.
The Action Plan is a document the clinician will fill in and provide you with at the end of your check-up.
The Gold Standard Health Check document will provide you with the details of what a good annual health check should look like to help you make the most of your appointment with the nurse or GP.
If you feel that you would like some support for your annual health check appointment to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible, speak to your local GP practice to discuss your support needs.
We’re working closely with Essex County Council to improving the health outcomes of our patients. If you have any feedback on the information documents provided, please let us know by emailing email@example.com
For additional information on support services for people with learning disabilities or special educational needs, visit the Essex Local Offer website.
The Community Teams provide specialist healthcare to adults with learning disabilities whose needs cannot be met by mainstream services alone. These teams help to ensure that people with learning disabilities receive the same care and treatment as everyone else when there is a concern about their physical or mental health.
Community Learning Disability Teams work in collaboration with other professionals to ensure that the individual’s health needs are met. They do this by providing high quality assessments and evidence based care plans which are evaluated with the individual and their support network.
Intensive support nurses work with people who have severe and complex needs such as: behavioural, physical, mental, emotional or sensory and which have increased to require a higher level of support. They help support people to remain in the community and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions by providing a rapid response, focused assessment and intervention, together with short-term treatment and support for carers. The teams also provide a range of intensive community interventions.
Learn more about the Essex Learning Disability Partnership
As well as getting an annual health check, there are other aspects of your health you should keep an eye on.
Take a look at our Easy Read guides to staying healthy.
For women, it’s important to attend a ‘smear test’, also known as a cervical screening. You should receive an invite at these times, depending on your age:
Essex County Council have produced a series of videos on YouTube to help people with learning disabilities prepare for various health checks.
The STOMP and STAMP programme of work is about making sure children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both are only prescribed the right medication, at the right time and for the right reason.
STOMP stands for Stopping The Over‑Medication of children and young People with a learning disability, autism or both.
STAMP stands for Supporting Treatment and Appropriate Medication in Paediatrics.
This leaflet is for families of children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both who may be prescribed (or are prescribed) psychotropic medication.
This leaflet is for a support worker who is accompanying a person with a learning disability, autism or both to a GP or consultant appointment.
Access an Easy Read guide to STOMP.
Summit have been providing advocacy services for over 40 years. They're based in Clacton.
Are you in education? Learn about the Multi-Schools Council on our Children and Young People with SEND web page.
Here at the CCG, we're committed to including the patient voice within all of the work that we deliver. Read some examples of how we do this below. If you want to get involved with helping the CCG deliver the best health service possible, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the last year, we've been working closely with partners at Essex County Council on a project called the 100 day Challenge for Learning Disability.
The CCG were part of a team called 'Smashing Barriers'. Other partners on the team included Essex Cares Ltd, Essex County Council, Marketfields School and Essex Carers Network.
Our team focus was supporting young adults leaving education in Colchester. We listened to young people with learning disabilities and autism and their families/carers to better understand their needs. Using their insight, we created opportunities for young people to build their skills, confidence and gain employment.
The 100 day challenge was also the birthplace of 'Nick's Rule'.
In a nutshell “Nick’s Rule” is an approach to decision making that makes sure everyone has an equal voice and the opportunity for their ideas to be heard. It is the brainchild of Nicholas Bunyon who, during the 100 Day Challenge, was taking part in a supported internship programme for young people with learning disabilities and autism at Essex County Council.
So how did the rule first come about?
Nick was part of the ‘leadership team’ - a group of decision makers, service managers, and commissioners from Essex County Council and organisations across Essex who provided oversight and enabling support for the 100 Day Challenge.
Nick explains: “It all started on the Day 25 event of the 100 Day Challenge, this was a leadership meeting where a lot of things were said about why the challenge might not work.
“I then expressed my own ideas and said what was on my mind, being passionate about changing the way things are currently done and run.”
Nick’s ideas formed the basis of a set of rules that Nick worked on with people in the council and community groups to develop into a quality standard and assessment tool. This tool aims to ensure:
Read the results of the 100 Day Challenge in full
We attend the Collaboration Forum facilitated by Healthwatch Essex, to work closely with patients who have disabilities that struggle to access NHS systems and utilise this discussions to transform our local services for the better.
The CCG also chair the LD Steering Group which monitors local contracts and delivery processes for patients with Learning Disabilities. The group is early in its development but will soon have representation from SUMMIT and Healthwatch Essex.
These key partners will help ensure the patient voice is a key part of all developments and work streams moving forward. The group are also in the process of appointing a Co-Chair. The Co-Chair will be a patient with Learning Disabilities, and will help us drive the agenda forward.
The CCG commissions (pays) lots of different organisations to provide healthcare services. These organisations are known as providers. From January 2020, all new contracts with providers will include a set of new requirements which relate specifically to patients with learning disabilities.
These requirements are:
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