Making sure service users receive health checks
Sue Turner Project manager, National Development Team for Inclusion at the Learning Disabilities Public Health Observatory, Bath
Bryan Michell Champions co-ordinator, fundraiser, and training and development co-ordinator, My Life My Choice, Oxford
Sue Turner and Bryan Michell explain how a client-led self-advocacy group in Oxford secured obligations from local service providers to increase take up of health checks
Health checks for adults with learning disabilities were introduced in England in 2009, following a recommendation in the Department of Health (DH) (2008) document, Healthcare for All. Since then, the number of adults with learning disabilities who have had health checks has increased year on year, yet the number who undertook such checks last year still represents less than half the number eligible for them, despite evidence of unmet needs. In addition, uptake of health checks varies, with 10 per cent of primary care trusts (PCTs) providing health checks to nearly 70 per cent, and another 10 per cent of PCTs providing them to fewer than 25 per cent, of eligible adults in their catchment areas. This variation indicates that uptake can be increased and, as the DH (2010b) document Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS suggests, this can be achieved by members of the public who exert pressure on service providers in their areas. In Oxford, a client-led, self-advocacy group called My Life My Choice has sought to increase take up of health checks. This article sets out the reasons for implementing health checks, summarises their implementation in England and describes how My Life My Choice has successfully ensured that local healthcare providers have drawn up plans to increase access to health checks for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire.
Learning Disability Practice.
This article has been subject to double blind peer review
Conflict of interest
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