Gaynor C. Tyler Community Nurse, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust
Margaret Ann Parker Community Nurse, Bro Morganwg NHS Trust
Gaynor Tyler and Margaret Parker describe how their idea for a men’s health group took shape
The advent of community care and the closure of long stay hospitals for people with learning disabilities have transferred responsibility for primary health care provision for this group to general practitioners (GPs). This has not proved an easy task, given that many GPs feel they have little experience of people with learning disabilities and may lack the necessary skills to provide care (Kerr et al 1996, Howells 1996). People with learning disabilities have the same health needs as the rest of the population, and these may occur more frequently or be masked by additional impairments or communication difficulties. It is also possible that someone’s underlying intellectual impairment can create additional problems, especially where this is associated with a particular syndrome (Welsh Office 1992). This, together with an inability by the client or carer to recognise symptoms of ill health, may compound any health problems. Bollard (1997) identified that over 60 per cent of people with learning disabilities living in the community have more than one chronic medical condition, inclusive of mental and/or physical disorders, requiring pharmaceutical intervention. It has also been shown that the involvement of a specialist is only available to a minority of this group (Minihan and Dean 1990).
Learning Disability Practice.
3, 6, 22-25.
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