Experiences of annual health checks: voices from the learning disability community

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Experiences of annual health checks: voices from the learning disability community
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hertfordshire
Date of publication 
Thursday, 29 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 4 November, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 January, 2020
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Information providing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Learning or understanding or concentrating
Types of long term conditions 
Learning disability
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
1-15 years
16-17 years
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.