Health inequalities of people with learning disabilities

June 19, 2017

Following the launch of a film to support better health for people with learning disabilities, a new guide for social care providers has been published to address health inequalities of people with learning disabilities.

The guidance document, Better Health for People with Learning Disabilities has been commissioned by NHS England, and is designed to support social care providers who want to improve the health and therefore the lives of the people they support.

Specifically, it is about the important role providers can play to ensure that people with learning disabilities:

  • Are on the GP learning disability quality and outcomes framework register.
  • Get annual health checks.
  • Have additional information on their Summary Care Record that says what reasonable adjustments they need.

The guidance has been developed by National Development Team for Inclusion with the support of VODG and many of its members.

The guide is supported by a film on better health for people with learning disabilities that can be used during induction or training sessions. The guide and the film are some of a number of resources commissioned by NHS England to increase the uptake and quality of health checks for people with learning disabilities.

The key messages in the guide are that people with learning disabilities have poorer health and die at a younger age than people without learning disabilities. Some of this poor health is avoidable and everyone in social care and support can do something to improve the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities – it is everyone’s responsibility.

Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG said in the introduction to the guide, 'Many of the health complications that people with learning disabilities experience are entirely preventable. It is totally unacceptable that people with learning disabilities experience poorer health outcomes and die younger than people in the general population. Social care providers have a key role to play in directly addressing these inequalities.

'This guide has been developed by VODG members to help social care providers ensure the requirements of people with learning disabilities are identified and communicated to health services. This resource helps to ensure better healthcare, and therefore better lives, for people who use social care services.'

In the next issue of CMM, the Business Clinic focuses on a pilot by Hft which uses technology to address the health inequalities of people with learning disabilities.


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