Annual health check for learning difficulties

Annual health checks for young people with a learning disability in Lincolnshire

Annual health checks are for adults and young people aged 14 or over with a learning disability.

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities, for example - household tasks, socialising or managing money, which affects someone for their whole life.

Learning disability and learning difficulties such as dyslexia and ADHD often get confused and referred to as the same, but they are different. 

Mencap describes dyslexia as a learning difficulty because, unlike learning disability it does not affect intellect. What is a learning disability?

It is important that everyone with a learning disability over the age of 14 has a health check each year.
An annual health check with a GP or nurse can help identify undetected conditions early, and make sure that the right treatment is given. 
The check is offered at all Lincolnshire GP practices.
You do not have to be ill to have a health check. Most people have their annual health check when they're feeling well.

Organisations from across the Lincolnshire health and care system are working to improve access to annual health checks and to make sure people with a learning disability are included on GP practice registers. 

The aim is:

  • everyone with a learning disability is included on their practice’s learning disability register
  • everyone with a learning disability is offered an annual health check

Useful information for parents

Before the appointment you may find it useful to:

  • make a list of the different health issues, so you can check the GP has them all noted on the computer and it is clear who is taking responsibility.
  • list any health concerns that you currently have (hopefully you will receive a questionnaire before the appointment to help with this).
  • ask if a nurse or a doctor will be doing the check. If the young person’s health issues are complex, would the GP be the best person to begin with?
  • would the first appointment be better without the young person (assuming their consent), to bring the GP up to speed?

Think about:

  • will the practice need to make reasonable adjustments to care for the young person? (for example, routine appointments booked at quieter times, ways of coping if the waiting room is busy, using the best way to communicate)
  • ask for these adjustments to be flagged on the young person's notes as an alert; this will help the receptionist when you are phoning. (You don’t have to wait until your child is 14 to do this)
  • what monitoring needs to be done? Do you need to introduce your child slowly to the practice to get them used to having weight monitoring, blood pressure checks or blood tests?
  • what knowledge needs sharing about a maybe rare condition?

Finally, make sure your young person is accompanied by someone who knows their medical issues well.