Getting it Right in Reading was an LD Health project that ran from April 2016 to March 2018 helping people with learning disability to understand about keeping healthy and helping them attend their Annual Health Checks. People who live independently with little support or those who live with elderly carers can find it difficult to understand about health checks and what they entail. Our Health Family Adviser helped people to attend their checks and manage their anxiety and understand what the GP was saying and asking them to do. If there were referrals for further treatment or screening the Family Adviser would also arrange support for the person to attend.
If you're thinking "What's the problem?", watch this video by Royal Mencap. You'll get the idea. This is part of their campaign Treat Me Well. You can sign up to support this campaign at mencap.org/TMWsignup.
With the loss of the CCG funding in April 2018 the project came to an end, but Reading Mencap still continues the work to improve services and spread understanding of the needs of people with LD trying to access health services through its work on the “Being As Healthy As We Can” multidisciplinary LD Health working group. This group is focusing on Annual Health Checks and working with local health and social care services to help them to improve their services to make access to Annual Health Checks easier.
In 2019 the group aims to produce a report to outline areas that we feel could be improved across all services for the delivery and access to the Annual Health Checks.
Our ‘Resource Pack’ for GPs remains current. This is for practice staff and the GP Learning Disability Lead to support their understanding of LD. It shows how to make reasonable adjustments to support learning disability health checks and generally to provide a better service for people with learning disabilities. You can view and/or download the resource pack by clicking on the blue link.
As part of this project, there are three useful very short videos to help ensure people with a learning disability don't miss out when it comes to their health. Please click on the images to view them.
The ‘Health is Everybody’s Responsibility’ video is about getting an Annual Health Check. It is performed by the Misfits Theatre Company, who are actors with learning disability.
The second video shows what happens during your annual health check. You can also download a Don't Miss Out on your Annual Health Check poster.
And this third video from the LD-Lead at Lambeth CCG is targeted at practice staff in a GP surgery. It informs and reminds them about what should happen in an annual health check for a learning-disabled person and what problems can be anticipated so that things can go as smoothly as possible.
Our Top Three Priorities at Reading Mencap
Members of Coffee Club tell Healthwatch Reading what's important to them
These are priorities people supported by Reading Mencap would like to see in their health and social care services.
Our Top Three Priorities have been published by Healthwatch Reading based on the findings from two ‘listening visits’ to Reading Mencap, where they heard the views of staff and people with learning disabilities.
Three themes emerged from Reading Mencap staff in talking about the experiences of their clients:
Healthwatch Reading heard that the way in which social care plans are drawn up and implemented is having a serious impact on the mental health of many people with learning disabilities, who typically experience high anxiety about forms and processes.
People with learning disabilities will often have a limited understanding of the process, or how what they say may affect what is put in their plan. This is resulting in social care plans that do not meet their needs.
Healthwatch Reading were also told by members of Reading Mencap’s Coffee Club that they are not getting the social care support they need at home and in going out.
Several have had their care needs reassessed recently, resulting in the allocated number of care hours being reduced. Most people in the group don’t have a social worker and if they need to speak to one they talk to a duty officer who has no background knowledge of their needs.
However, several people did say their support workers do a tremendous job.
Coffee Club members also reported that things are not so good now as when there was a specialist learning disability team of social workers a Reading Borough Council.
Reading Mencap also suggested key reasonable adjustments:
Healthwatch Reading is working with local charities to ensure the views and needs of people who are ‘seldom heard’ are available to the NHS locally and to Reading Borough Council to inform both commissioning and quality improvements in services.
Themes from the report and the recommendations of Healthwatch Reading spanning the whole series of reports in this project will be included in a final report in due course. The report can be read in full here.