What is the Learning Disability Annual Health Check?
In 2008 the Department of Health announced a two-year Enhanced Service (ES) to deliver Annual Health Checks for people with learning disabilities living in England. The Annual Health Check is to ensure that the person with learning disabilities has aspects of their health checked and recorded by their GP Practice. It should also allow them to identify anything that is worrying them.
People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services. Research shows that regular health checks for people with learning disabilities often uncover treatable health conditions. Most of these are simple to treat and make the person feel better, while sometimes serious illnesses, such as cancer, are found at an early stage when they can be treated.
The Annual Health Check is also a chance for the person to get used to going to their GP practice, which reduces their fear of going at other times.
It has been proven to be effective in diagnosing conditions and treating conditions in people with learning disabilities that may otherwise have been missed. Since then, the health checks scheme has continued each year.
In North Lincolnshire, all 19 of our GP Practices have signed up to deliver the annual health checks as part of the General Medical Services Contract with NHS England. This is designed to encourage practices to identify all patients aged 14 and over with learning disabilities, to maintain a learning disabilities ‘health check’ register and offer them an annual health check, which will include producing a health action plan.