Learning Disability Annual Health Check

Page updated: 01/12/2022

What is a Learning Disability Annual Health Check?

An Annual Health Check aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities, as they often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services. The Annual Health Check is done by your doctor once a year, making sure you are healthy. 

Supercharge me - Is an easy-to-follow step by step guide for young people on how to book an annual health care check.

Who needs a Learning Disability Annual Health Check?

If you are over 14 years old and you have a learning disability you can get extra support when visiting the doctor. 

To get support you need to join the learning disability register - which could also mean you can have a free Annual Health Check. Getting a health check with your doctor will help to keep you healthy. All parts of the Annual Health Check are voluntary. You need to give your consent before anything happens.  At the end of the health check the doctor or nurse will give you a Health Action Plan to help you stay well.

Keep the Health Action Plan in a safe place and bring the Health Action Plan with you to your next health check.

By joining the learning disability register you can get:

  • Extra support when you visit your doctor – including making an appointment
  • Support to understand your doctor and your information
  • More time to talk about how you are feeling

Don't miss out on getting the very best healthcare

  • If you have a learning disability 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.
  • 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 template letter 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. During this check your doctor will take a closer look at how you are doing – making sure you are healthy and stay healthy.

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 so they know about the medicines you take and any allergies. 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.

Annual Health Checks for People with Severe Mental Health Conditions (SMI)

This is a new NHS webpage promoting annual health checks for those with a SMI. These annual health checks can be live-saving, and it is important that people are encouraged to come forward for the checks. This new webpage explains who is eligible for the checks, how to get an appointment and what happens during these checks.

Annual health check for people with severe mental health conditions - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Care for someone with a learning disability? Don’t let them miss out

If you care for someone with a learning disability, they can get extra support when visiting their doctor – all you or they have to do is ask for their name to be added to the GP learning disability register. You can help them do this by talking to their doctor’s surgery or use this template letter. Complete this letter and give it to the doctor during their next appointment.

Once on the register they can speak to their doctor about having a free Health Check every year. There are lots of reasons why they should have their Annual Health Check if their doctor says they can have one, including:

  • Not always knowing if they are unwell – the doctor can spot signs that you or the individual might miss,
  • Getting better treatment – for example new medication
  • It offers an opportunity for them to talk to the doctor about anything worrying them
  • The doctor can provide advice on lifestyle choices, such as diet
  • They can have more control in their own health and body

Make sure the doctor gives them a health action plan after the health check – this includes goals for them and the doctor to work towards together.

Another way you can ensure they are getting the very best healthcare is by supporting them to give their doctor consent for their information to be shared. With the individuals permission, or in some cases the carer or family members permission, the doctor can add additional information to the individuals Summary Care Record (SCR).

Everyone has a SCR – speak to the doctor about the individual giving consent for Additional Information (AI) to be stored, this can include details of their learning disability, any physical/sensory disability, communication needs, contact details of a carer or next of kin etc., allows all health professionals who care for them to know their latest needs and requirements.

To access contact details and to search for your local GP Practice and contact details please click below:

Find a GP 

We've created some helpful resources to help you or the people you support get on the learning disability register, including:

MENCAP Supporter's Guide 

Learning Disability Register - Template Letter 

Don't Miss Out: Get Better Healthcare Mencap Leaflet

Flu vaccination video for those with learning disabilities

On behalf of the NHS, Misfits Theatre Company tackles the misinformation surrounding the flu vaccination head on and urges people with learning disabilities and their carers to not delay, and get their free flu vaccine today.

Page updated: 21/01/2022