Aims To determine the proportion of GP practices offering learning disability (LD) annual health checks to patients aged 14 years and above.
To determine annual attendance rates at these health check appointments.
To identify factors relevant to the uptake of annual health checks that will help to inform development of a transition pathway from paediatrics to primary care.
Methods All young people aged 14 years and above should be offered an annual health check. We surveyed GP practices within three local CCGs (n=79) by telephone and email. A questionnaire was devised to obtain the relevant information. Practices were asked the following questions: the number of health checks offered and the proportion attended, how patients are identified for the LD register, how they are contacted, who undertakes the health checks and suggested reasons for low attendance. Follow up emails were sent to increase response rates.
Results 51 responses were obtained (65%). The response rate was evenly spread across the CCGs. All practices (100%) had an LD register and all (100%) offered annual health checks to patients aged 18 and over. All except 3 (93%) offered annual health checks to 14–25 year olds. Of the 14–25 year olds who were invited for annual health check only 43% attended. Perceived reasons for poor attendance included lack of understanding about what the health check entails (24%), communication difficulties (14%), other services being accessed instead (16%) unfamiliarity with the practice (6%) and diagnosis not clear from clinic letters (12%). Practices which achieved high attendance rates shared good practice which broadly focussed on accessibility and communication.
Conclusion The majority of practices within our local CCGs are offering annual health checks to patients with learning disability aged 14 years and over. Attendance rates are poor at less than 50%. Potential reasons for this have been identified. By increasing attendance at health check appointments it is hoped that overall health outcomes for this group will improve. A Transition Pathway will help promote the importance of annual health checks and facilitate engagement with primary care for patients aged 14 years and over.
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