Shropshire Council

Learning Disability Annual Health Checks during Lockdown

09 February 2021 Last updated at 01:48

Learning Disability Annual Health Checks during Lockdown

With the UK in lockdown once again, the following information outlines how GP practices in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin have adapted to continue the availability of learning disability annual health checks during this time.

Learning disability annual health checks are a priority for GP practices and as such are still available under current restrictions.

The approach to LDAHCs will vary from practice to practice, some appointments may now take place over the phone or virtually, via online consultations or if needed face to face. You can talk to your GP about what type of appointment is best for you.

A healthcare professional will be able to advise you on the online consultation options and will help should you need any extra support.

It will be important to check with your GP practice what the current arrangements are to attend any face-to-face appointments if that is agreed as the appropriate approach.

Please also be assured that the necessary infection prevention and control measures, as well as personal protective equipment, have been put in place to make practices safe to attend.

Learning disability AHC information

Learning disability annual health checks are for adults and young people aged 14 or over with a learning disability. They give 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.

Usually GP practices send an invite for a learning disability annual health check; however individuals can also book themselves by contacting their local GP practice and requesting one directly.

If you have any worries 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 take someone along if you like.

Online consultations

With current restrictions in place, phone and online appointments are available at most practices via the GP practice website. This will allow the GP or healthcare professional to complete as much of your annual health check as possible and more efficiently.

An online consultation enables you to contact a GP or other healthcare professional over the internet. It saves you waiting for an appointment or going to the GP practice.

As systems vary from practice to practice, we would suggest checking individual practice websites for up-to-date information.

What you can expect during a learning disability annual health check?

Your GP practice will call you to have a chat and decide the safest way to complete your learning disability annual health check. You can also tell your GP how you would prefer to do this.

During lockdown, much of the learning disability 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 will also be partly done via phone or online consultation with a GP or nurse however, you may 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 (if necessary)
  • 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.

All GP practices offer annual health checks to people with a learning disability. If your GP practice hasn't offered you an annual health check, just give them a call.

For any other advice and guidance on learning disability annual health checks, please call the Community Learning Disability team on: 01743 211 210.

For further information on learning disability annual health checks, an easy read guide and a short video are available to view which have been produced by Mencap.