Look after the ones you love

Helping people with learning disabilities book their annual health checks and flu and COVID-19 vaccinations

January often prompts us to think about our health and wellbeing. But what about the health and wellbeing of our loved ones?

People with a learning disability often have poorer physical and mental health than other people. This does not need to be the case.

If you are a parent or carer of someone with a learning disability who is aged 14 and over, then it’s important to support them with booking their free annual health check and ensure they have their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.

An annual health check can help people with learning disabilities to stay well by talking to a doctor or nurse about their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Annual health checks mean that any health-related issues can be spotted quickly and dealt with.

You do not have to be ill to have a health check – in fact, most people have their annual health check when they are feeling well.

Some of the things included in a health check can include a physical and mental health check-up that includes weight, heart rate and blood pressure checks, discussions about any medication you’re taking and a check to see if vaccinations are up to date. The doctor or nurse may want to take a urine sample or a blood test too.

There are other benefits to making sure that anyone you care for with learning disabilities takes advantage of the free annual health checks; they will get to know their doctor better, they can ask their own questions about any treatment or medicines they’re using and feel in control of their own health and wellbeing

Reasonable adjustments can be made for anyone who is feeling nervous about seeing a doctor or nurse, making sure that appointments are tailored to people’s individual needs.

Dr Sian Roberts; Clinical Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, Buckinghamshire CCG advises: “The Annual Health Check is great opportunity to check you are healthy and to learn how to keep yourself well. This will help you live a long healthy life. If you still feel unsure about annual health checks or learn how to book one, please do speak with your GP surgery.”

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Angela Macpherson, said:

“If we have learnt anything from the last two years, it’s that our health and wellbeing is so important. For those with learning disabilities the annual health checks are a great opportunity for you to check in with a doctor and make sure you’re in the best shape you can be, not just physically, but mentally too. If you are the parent or carer of someone with a learning disability, please make sure you’re encouraging them to book their health checks.”

Find out more information about the health checks on the NHS website.