For families and supporters of people with a learning disability......
For information and to increase awareness

NHS annual health checks for people with learning difficulties

All people with a learning disability should have an annual health check at the GP's. Unfortunately only 49% received an annual check in 2010-2011* (link below). This has now slightly increased to 52% according to Public Health England** (link below).

Karen did have the checks because our GP sent for her.

GPs to oversee social care for vulnerable patients under contract changes

Adding strength to this, under new proposals Jeremy Hunt the health secretary, stated that family doctors will “case manage proactively” patients with complex needs by developing and regularly reviewing personalised care plans that will cover health and social care needs, under their contract for 2014-15. (Link below***)




Why the health checks did not protect Karen against breast cancer

Unfortunately, at the moment, a breast check is not routinely included in the examination. It meant that Karen's cancer became metastatic and was only discovered when a care assistant noticed blood on her top. She only lived for another 2 years afterwards.

How can you make sure that the tragedy that happened to Karen does not happen to your relative?

Ask your GP to examine the person's breasts if female or to examine the testicles if male. If you are confident enough you could do this yourself but the GP knows what to check for and it avoids any problems if your examination could be misconstrued as assault.

Also show your relative this Touch Look Check (TLC) poster from Breakthrough Cancer periodically perhaps from their teens - it is very clear and could save their life if they know what they are looking for.


Improved Annual Health Checks (AHCs) - consultation

Public Health England have been consulting on improving health checks for people with learning difficulties. I have been taking part in meetings and I am striving to promote an increase in access and quality and specifically for AHCs to include breast examinations which I feel they should do in the light of what happened to Karen.

Improved Annual Health Checks


Framework agreement between DH and NHS England

This Framework hopefully will help with difficulties such as those which developed over Karen through improvements in communication, coordination and cooperation between different services -one of the principles set out is:
"Working together openly and positively. This will include working constructively and collaboratively with other organisations within and beyond the health and social care system".

Agreement Policy Document



Annual Health Check Survey Report

Our report on The Views of Carers of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities on Annual Health Checks - Final Report - published on the Public Health England - Improving Health and Lives website. The impetus to do this was because Karen, my daughter, had learning disabilities and to help other people with LD: 

The Views of Carers of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities on Annual Health Checks - Final Report



*Emerson 2011 The uptake of health checks for adults with learning disabilities
**Public Health England 2013 Uptake of health checks for adults with learning disabilities (Findings P12)

***Community Care Article
easyfundraising, facebook and Twitter