HEALTH AND CARE: Don’t miss out on the best healthcare

If you have a learning disability, make sure to tell your doctor to be added to the register
If you have a learning disability, make sure to tell your doctor to be added to the register

In England, 1.2 million people are estimated to have a learning disability.

It is well recognised that people with learning disabilities have poorer physical and mental health than other people.

If you have a learning disability we want to make sure you can get extra support when visiting the doctor.

To get extra support and the very best healthcare you need to be on the learning disability register.

At the moment of the 1.2 million people, only about 275,000 (2016-17) were registered with their GP practice as having a learning disability.

Once you are on the register, your doctor can make sure you have a free health check every year.

During this check your doctor will take a closer look at how you are doing – making sure you are healthy and stay healthy.

It is okay to take this annual health check when you are feeling well.

We know that not everyone registered with their GP as having a learning disability is getting an annual health check.

Having an annual health check will result in a clear health check action plan and these can identify undetected health conditions early, making sure you get the most appropriate treatment going forward.

The number of people with a learning disability in the UK who had an annual health check increased from 75,731 in the first nine months of 2016/17 to 88,326 in the first nine months of 2017/18.

This is an increase of 12,595, or 17 per cent, in the first nine months of this year compared to the last - but we have a long way to go across the country to meet the 75 per cent target of people with a learning disability having an annual health check.

Your doctor can also talk to you about your summary care record which is a short summary of your GP medical records.

With your permission other health and care staff can access your summary care record.

This will tell them about the medicines you take and any allergies you have.

This includes people who treat you in an emergency and in routine scheduled care such as hospital appointments.

Tell your doctor they can add more information to your record so you don’t miss out.

If you are not sure how to take any of this forward, ask the receptionist at your doctor’s surgery if you are on the register.

If you are not on the register then ask for an appointment with your doctor. At the appointment tell your doctor you have a learning disability and would like to be added to the register.

You can use this article to tell your doctor you want to be added to the register. Once you are on the register, ask your doctor if you can have a free health check every year.

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