Annual Health Checks For People With A Learning Disability

29th March 2018

Annual Health Checks For People With A Learning Disability

Earlier this year, Nigel Warburton, Project Co-Ordinator with the Patient and Client Council began working with people with a learning disability and their carers, who identified annual health checks as being crucial to their overall wellbeing. Now, he’s trying to find out more about what impact the health check is having on people’s lives.

Often it is our GP, (our local doctor) who is the first point of contact when we or a member of our family feels unwell. People with a learning disability suffer poorer physical and mental health than the general population, so its important that extra help is available to help them live as healthy as possible.

Adults with a learning disability in Northern Ireland can avail of a Directed Enhanced Service (DES) designed to allow GPs and professionals called Health Care Facilitators to provide a detailed annual physical and mental health check. The health check is an important opportunity to discuss any concerns about their mental health and we would be interested to find out how this works for people.

This service in Northern Ireland offers:

  • Physical examination
  • Medication review
  • An opportunity for bloods to be checked
  • ECG
  • Referral for further treatment and investigations or interventions
  • An individual person-centred health and wellbeing action plan developed after the health check
  • Signposting to health promotion interventions and initiatives

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has produced a video to help adults with a learning disability access an annual health check.

Do you know that annual health checks are available to people with a learning disability? Have you, or someone you care for had an annual health check? What has been your experience? If you have general comments, please add them below, but if you’d like to share your experience privately, please email