Newham GP Dr Zarifa on free health checks for adults with a learning disability

PUBLISHED: 10:07 25 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:07 25 February 2015


Every year, GPs in Newham offer free health checks to adults with a learning disability to ensure any health issues are identified and treated early. We are thrilled that Newham is rated top in London for supporting these residents to have a health check.

According to recent data published by Public Health England, in Newham over 75 per cent of people with a learning disability are having a yearly health check, more than in any other part of London. This result shows the hard work of our clinical staff and the power of joined up working between health and care services.

An advocate for this service, local GP and the clinical lead for learning disabilities and carers for NHS Newham CCG, Dr Anil Shah says having an annual check means health problems for this vulnerable group are picked up earlier. This is so important as research shows they often have poorer health than their peers, and can often have difficulty identifying any new or changes in symptoms and then getting these checked through by accessing appropriate care.

The annual health check, developed as a free national programme, enables a person with a learning disability to go to their local GP practices and have aspects of their health checked and talk about worries.

During the health check, the GP or practice nurse will carry out a general physical examination, assess the patient’s behaviour, including asking questions about their lifestyle, mental health and review any arrangements with other health professionals, such as physiotherapists or speech therapists.

Their GPs will also check for epilepsy, review any prescribed medicines the patient is taking and check whether any chronic illnesses, such as asthma or diabetes, are being well managed.

I encourage local people with a learning disability or their carers who haven’t already made an appointment for their annual check up to do so now.

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