Could you be an Learning Disabilities Clinical Lead?

One of the changes in the recently released GP contract was an increased recognition of Learning disabilities (LD). The directly enhanced service requires an annual health check for all on the LD register and there is now a higher payment for available for this (of £140).

In our next issue, and already available OnlineFirst there is a comprehensive article about health promotion and screening for people with LD or the interchangeable term ‘Intellectual disability’. The latter is used to differentiate more clearly from learning difficulties such as dyspraxia or dyslexia.

Equity to healthcare and screening is a huge issue and we can start to improve this in our surgeries. The article by Drs Awan and Chauhan, describes the very practical Top Tips for Effective Consultations, a simple explanation on assessing capacity and how to manage when there is a lack of capacity for a decision.

Has your practice already got an LD lead? If not, this may be a great place to gain experience – and tick those leadership PIP boxes – this article will get you started.

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Annual health checks for people with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities have greater health needs than the general population but consensus feeling amongst doctors is that these patients receive less good care than their non-disabled peers. This shortfall in learning disability healthcare is thought to relate to deficiencies in: service provision, access and staff knowledge and training. As a consequence, annual health checks for adults with learning disabilities are now being offered in general practices across the UK, to improve access to mainstream primary healthcare and detection of unmet health needs. This article will cover the rationale behind annual health checks and the evidence regarding the health benefits of comprehensive health checking in this group. We will also summarise the requirements for annual health checks specified in the learning disabilities Directed Enhanced Service (DES), before discussing the barriers to and strategies for undertaking effective health checks in general practice.