Family carer shares her tips on getting the very best health care for people with learning disabilities

Robina Mallett – Family Carer and member of the National LeDeR  Steering Group blogs about how people with learning disabilities can get the very best health care:

Health is everybody’s business!

Getting the right health care is vital and primary health care at your GP’s surgery is often the first port of call for everyone, including people with learning disabilities.

There are two types of GP register – did you know?

Don’t miss out; your relative can be on their GP’s QOF (Quality and Outcomes Framework) register from childhood. This alerts medical staff to how they can adjust the way they support your family member with a learning disability, for example ensuring they meet any specific special needs. (This is known as making ‘reasonable adjustments’ and part of The Equality Act).

You need to check that your relative is on their GP’s health check register too so they have an Annual Health Check. These health checks are available from the age of 14 upwards and lead to Health Action Plans for individuals. They help people to be familiar with going to their doctor. Also evidence shows that health checks can lead to better health outcomes for the person because underlying conditions can be spotted and treatment offered earlier if needed. If the GP does not offer an Enhanced Service to provide health checks it is usually possible to change to a practice that does.

Summary Care Records and additional information

Did you know everyone has an electronic “Summary Care Record” of their main health issues, unless they have said they do not want one? If someone is not able to tell staff about themselves, authorised health staff can look at Summary Care Records to aid them in providing the right treatment.

Is the right information on your relative’s Summary Care Record? GP receptionists will tell you how to check or change information.

People can choose to have additional information (say about reasonable adjustments or how they like to treated) on their SCR: would this be helpful for your relative?

Would you like to know more AND make sure people who support your relative know what they need to know?

NHS England has just produced a 20 page guide and video entitled “Better Health for People with Learning Disabilities”. They were designed especially for social care staff but are user friendly to family carers….and the video is good fun for everyone to watch!

Take some time to check all of the above is in place and happening to help your family member or the person you care for get the very best healthcare.

Robina Mallett – Family Carer, National LeDer Steering Group –