People with a learning disability often find it more difficult to recognise illness, communicate their needs and use health services. The annual physical health check is offered by GPs to anyone aged 14 and over with a learning disability, to check their physical health, including looking for health conditions that may otherwise go undetected. It’s a free NHS service designed to pick up and sort out any health problems at an early stage.
What does a health check involve?
At the health check, you will be given a general physical examination, including checking your weight, heart rate and blood pressure, and you may be given a blood or urine test. Any medication you take will be reviewed and there will be a check on any existing health condition you might have, like diabetes or asthma, and how well it’s being managed. The GP or practice nurse will also give any relevant health information, like advice on healthy eating, exercise, contraception or stop smoking support.
Usually, your GP practice will invite you for a health check, but if you’ve never had one, or if it’s been a couple of years since your last one, you can speak to your GP practice and ask them when you should have it. Also, if you care for someone with a learning disability, you can contact the practice on their behalf to make an appointment for them.