What is an annual health check?

An annual health check is offered to people over the age of 14 with a learning disability and aim to help individuals stay well by discussing their health and finding any problems early on so suitable care can be provided. Individuals do not need to be ill to have a health check, in fact, most people have one when they are feeling healthy!

Who is eligible

Adults or young people with learning disabilities, aged over 14 who are on their GP’s learning disabilities register are entitled to free annual health checks. Individuals can check with their GP if they are on the learning disabilities register and can request to be put on if they believe they have a learning disability.

How do you get an appointment?

Individuals who are on their GP’s learning disabilities register should be invited by their GP practice annually to go for their check up. However, not all GP practices have to offer this service, if you are unsure if your GP does, give them a call and ask. If they say no, you can ask your local community learning disability team for further advice. 

Contact details for Community Learning Disability Teams in Derby/Derbyshire

What happens at an annual health check?

During your annual health check, you should expect the following:

  • A physical check up including weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood and urine samples
  • Discussions about your well-being and if you need any additional support with this
  • Ask about elements that are more common if you have a learning disability such as epilepsy, constipation or issues swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Discuss your medicines
  • Check that your vaccinations are up to date
  • If you have a health problem such as asthma or diabetes, the GP will check how it is going
  • Check to see if you have any other health appointments such as physiotherapy or speech therapy
  • Ask if your family or carers are getting the support they need
  • Help to make sure that things go well when children move to adult services at the age of 18.

If your learning disability has a specific cause, your GP may do additional tests if there are any other health risks.

You will be asked for your consent to share the information with other services that provide you care as this will help you to get the right support if you go to hospital, for example.

You will also be given advice on other health such as smoking, contraception and healthy eating.

Benefits of attending

There are many benefits to an annual health check such as:

  • It helps to keep individuals as healthy as possible
  • It enables individuals to gain a stronger relationship with the doctors and nurses at their practice
  • Any health issues can be diagnosed and addressed accordingly
  • It supports positive health and well-being whilst helping reduce health inequalities
  • It helps to share information with other organisations such as schools and hospitals.

© Healthwatch Derbyshire 2021

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