Experiences of annual health checks: voices from the learning disability communityDownload (PDF 3.39MB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Hertfordshire wanted to understand the uptake and quality of Annual Health Checks locally, by hearing directly from those who are entitled to this service – the Learning Disability Community. The engagement phase ran from 4th November 2019 to 31st January 2020. They spoke to 491 service users, carers and support workers within the learning disability community.
Of the respondents who completed the questionnaire, 69% had an Annual Health Check since May 2017 and 31% have never had an Annual Health Check. For those who had an Annual Health Check, positive experiences reflected the friendliness and patience of clinicians. However, concerns were raised regarding the quality of Annual Health Checks. Issues regarding quality related to the length of appointments offered, affecting the comprehensiveness of the Annual Health Check.
Few GP practices provided information in an easy read format and/or communicated with service users in a way that was accessible for them. Some GP practices did not allow service users to bring support with them and in some cases, staff in supported living accommodation refused to accompany service users.
Of the respondents who have never had an Annual Health Check, 80% said this is because they were not aware Annual Health Checks existed and/or because they had not been offered an appointment by their GP practice. One in five service users questioned the importance of having an Annual Health Check, and/or noted barriers such as time or confidence. Those aged 14-17 years old were less likely to have an Annual Health Check. For those who had, they were given greater choice in terms of their appointment time and clinician.
The report includes 15 recommendations about awareness, accessible information, quality of the check, support available and choice.
The report includes responses from service providers outlining the action they intended to take as a result of the research.