Annual health checks
Annual health checks are for adults and young people aged 14 or over with a learning disability.
An annual health check gives people time to talk about anything that is worrying them and means they can get used to going to visit the doctor.
People with a learning disability often have poorer physical and mental health. Therefore an annual health check is important – even if the person does not feel unwell.
Currently, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCGs, the local authorities, as well as the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust (MPFT) are working closely together to encourage people to take up their annual health checks.
Usually GP practices send an invite for an annual health check; however individuals can also book themselves by contacting their local GP practice and requesting one directly.
If you have any worries about going for your annual health check you can speak to your doctor or nurse to let them know your concerns. Support is available for your needs if you let a healthcare professional know in advance, plus you can bring someone along if you like.
How will an annual health check help?
There are a number of benefits to getting an annual health check including:
- Getting to know your GP better, which will help if you ever get ill
- Understanding how you can treat any minor health problems with easy to understand information from your GP
- Asking your GP any questions you have about your health, including how you are feeling, your care, as well as any medicines you take
- Help your GP to stop you getting a serious health condition, rather than waiting until you are ill.
Who’s eligible for an annual health check?
Anyone aged 14 or over who is on their GP’s learning disability register can have a free annual health check.
If you don’t think you are registered with your GP you can ask to go on this register by contacting your local GP practice. It is also important to note that this register is different to the social care needs register which is managed by local councils.
What you can expect during an annual health check?
Your GP practice will call you to have a chat and decide the safest way to do your annual health check. You can also tell your GP how you would prefer to do it.
During the pandemic, part of an annual health check can be performed at home (i.e. recording weight, height, any changes in behaviour, as well as using online tools and tests).
The check may also partly be done via phone or video consultation with a GP or nurse however you will still need to be seen in person to finalise the check. These appointments usually last between 30 to 40 minutes.
The following is what you can expect to happen during an annual health check:
- A physical check-up including heart rate, blood pressure and taking blood and urine samples
- A chat about staying well, the medicines you are taking, as well as any health problems you might be dealing with (such as asthma or diabetes)
- A talk about conditions such as epilepsy, constipation and problems swallowing (which are more common for people with a learning disability)
- A check to see if your vaccinations are up-to-date and if you have any other health appointments, such as physiotherapy or speech therapy
- Some health advice on healthy eating, exercise, contraception or stopping smoking
- As well as support, if needed, for family and/or carers.
Most GP practices offer annual health checks to people with a learning disability, however some are not able to provide them. If your GP practice hasn't offered you an annual health check, just give them a call.