Checking up on DES - Health Checks for People with Learning Disabilities

Why don't more people with learning disabilities get the Annual Health Checks to which they are entitled? This was the question I set out to answer in a project funded by The Health Foundation in 2012. I carried out this work with My Life My Choice, a vibrant Oxford based self advocacy group.

Life expectancy for people with learning disabilities is much lower than average, 14 years lower for men, and a staggering 18 years for women. One response to this shocking state of affairs by Government was to fund GPs to provide annual health checks for people with learning disabilities, back in 2008. Yet at the time we did our work, less than 50% of the people eligible for this check got it. We interviewed GPs, and spoke to reception staff in Oxfordshire practices. Although some practices were offering an amazing service, and reaching almost all their eligible patients, most did little, and had little awareness of what they could or should so to reach more people. No easy read letters or information, no effort to make it easy for people who might be nervous of doctors. Read more about this fascinating, if rather depressing project here in Easy Read format easy-report and here in full desreportfinal.