Each GP Practice has a ‘learning disabilities health check register’ of patients with learning disabilities. Anyone of any age, and any level of disability can join the register, even if they live independently and have little or no support. It is really helpful for children to join it at a young age, so that adjustments and support are put in place before they transition into adult services.
How do people join the register?
Go to the GP surgery with the person, and ask if the receptionist can check to see if they are on the register. Even if they receive social care support, they may have missed out on joining the register. For example, the doctor may have it noted on the system that they have Down Syndrome, but this does not automatically put them on the learning disability register, as it is not a code for learning disability.
A person with a learning disability can join the register by talking to their GP, who will then add a code onto their record. GPs make the diagnosis using tools available and clinical judgement, seeking further help as and when required, from specialist learning disability services for example. Once the diagnosis has been made, an appropriate code is added to the record.
Since the code is a diagnostic code, much the same as a diagnosis for any other condition, such as epilepsy and heart conditions, there is not a requirement to gain consent to be added to the register.
When visiting the doctor to add the person with a learning disability onto the register, it might be useful to speak to the doctor about what reasonable adjustments or support the person might need to help them access health services more easily. Mencap has created a template letter that people can show to their doctor, which can be downloaded here: www.mencap.org.uk/dontmissout
Why should someone join the Learning Disability Register?
Being on the register is the first step to an individual getting reasonable adjustments and better support. Once this information is on the GP system, they will be able to access additional services, such as the annual health check, and request extra support, such as easy read information, longer appointments and reminders, and help to make decisions. If they join when they are a child, then this support can be introduced from a young age, making their transition to independence much easier.
Please note that people over the age of 14 can have an annual health check, enabling young people to benefit from having extra support with their health throughout their transition to adulthood. If you are a parent of a child with a learning disability, please do ensure that your child is on the register, so that they can be invited for an annual health check once they are 14.