Nearly 75 per cent of people with learning disabilities get health check

NHS England & Improvement has said 74 per cent of people aged 14 and over with a learning disability have had an annual health check two years ahead of the deadline set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The latest figures appear to show the Government making progress in reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities, with many getting access to a full check, increasing the chance that conditions like cancer, cardiac disease, constipation will be caught and diagnosed quickly. 

The NHS Long Term Plan set a target for 75 per cent of over-14s on the learning disability register to have received a health check by 2023-24.

NHSE&I revealed 97 per cent of reviews were completed within six months, adding that it wanted secondary care to set up seven regional “exemplar sites” that would “drive through health improvements alongside the annual health check process".

The NHS said the sites will focus on “increasing the uptake and quality of annual health checks and the number of people with a learning disability who get their flu jab each year".

Claire Murdoch, mental health director for NHSE&I, said: “Every year, people with a learning disability die sooner than they should and many from potentially avoidable conditions, such as constipation or aspiration pneumonia.

“Despite the pandemic, the NHS has ensured that three quarters of people over the age of 14 with a learning disability have received their annual health check, two years ahead of the Long Term Plan target – the health MOT’s from local GPs are crucial in identifying and tackling major health conditions and preventable causes of early death.

“This important report reminds us why improving the health of people with a learning disability is a priority for the NHS and it is vital we use this to make real and lasting change to help close the health inequality gap seen throughout society.”

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