Health checks for Harlow residents with learning disabilities the “lowest in Essex”.

Health / Wed 13th Aug 2014 at 11:32am

THE NUMBER of Harlow people with learning disabilities attending their surgeries for annual health checks is the lowest in Essex claims an NHS expert.

In a recent presentation to health care bodies, it was revealed that in 2013-14 only 107 people out of 452 (23%) in the West Essex area went for an annual check up.

This compares to 40% in North East Essex, 38% in Mid Essex and 45% in Thurrock.

Only two years ago, Thurrock stood at 11% but due to pressure from a number of key pro-active organisations such as Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions have matters improved.

YH presented the figures to Harlow MP, Robert Halfon, who has pledged that he will look into it. Organisations in Harlow such as Pact for Autism have also expressed their concern.

We put the figures to the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group who issued the following statement.

“After some investigation, we have discovered that these are not the complete figures for our area.

The figures you have only take into account one of the ways in which health checks for people with learning disabilities are commissioned. These figures represent the checks that NHS England commissions directly with GP practices through directed enhanced services (DES). However, they do not take into account the other health checks that were commissioned by West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group through locally enhanced services (LES).To avoid this complication moving forward, from April 2014, NHSE has responsibility for commissioning these health checks.

“In addition, there are other factors which would affect the number of recorded completed health checks such as the number of people who do not attend pre-booked appointments, and the delays in recording the health checks in the patient’s GP record.

“NHS England is working with CCGs, GPs and other partner organisations in order to ensure that people with learning disabilities receive the health and care checks they require to keep them healthy. Together we will also look at ways to improve the take-up of health checks, which includes:

1. Identify why people fail to attend pre-booked appointments and address those issues
2. Improve the process inviting people to have health checks and stress the importance of the checks to patients, their families and their carers
3. Ensure that GPs are reporting the take-up accurately in order to verify figures

“In addition, a specialist health provider has been commissioned – in partnership with Essex County Council – to assign a Specialist Learning Disability Nurse to each GP practice to support the offer of a health check by making it much more of an accessible service. The nurse will also support the action plan that follows on from the health check”.

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