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Learning Disability Mission Statement/Policy

College Health Ltd Policy on Learning Difficulties

Health: Legislation, Research and Good Practice

People with a learning disability have a right to receive good healthcare, but are often let down by current provision. People with a learning disability experience poorer health and poorer healthcare than the general population, but we aim to provide a better understanding of their needs and requirements and look after their wellbeing. The Equality and Human Rights Commission and our “Death by indifference” campaign show how all parts of the health service are struggling to meet the needs of the people with Learning disability, and too often fail in their efforts.

The aims of the Practice Policy is to provide health professionals with information on best practice, and where to go for information and support so all people with a learning disability get the best health treatment possible.

Key Issues

People with a learning disability have a right to receive good healthcare. They will need healthcare in the same way that everyone else will, and some people with a learning disability will have additional health needs (for example people with a learning disability are more likely to have epilepsy). Often, they need more support to understand information about their health, especially communicating symptoms and concerns, and to manage their health adequately.

There are 3 simple things all health practitioners can do to ensure that people with a learning disability get the healthcare they need:

  • Allow longer appointment times
  • Communication with the individual (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Listening to the knowledge of their families and carers and most important, equally valuing the life of a person with a learning disability

The has guides for professionals in treating people with a learning disability. It also includes easy read information that health professionals can use to help explain health issues and treatments to their patients with a learning disability.

Information such as:

  • ADHD leaflets
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Parenting Toolkit
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Acute Bronchitis
  • Contraception injection
  • Obesity
  • Epilepsy
  • Breast Screening
  • Incontinence in Women/Men
  • Earwax
  • Pneumonia

Additional Supporting information

  • Supporting parents with Learning Difficulties.
  • Health card Learning Difficulties.
  • Foundation for people with Learning difficulties, contact number: 020 7803 1100

The List is endless and I am sure if you put a subject matter that is of a concern they will be some useful information.


The Disability Discrimination Act says that people with a disability must not be discriminated against. Service providers must make reasonable adjustments to give people with a disability an equal outcome. Failure to do this would be in breach of the Law


  • “Death by indifference” Mencap result of six people with Learning Disabilities that died in NHS care.
  • “Closing the Gap” Disability Rights Commission, technology can change lives for the better and has within the learning disabilities world.
  • “Illness in people with Intellectual disabilities” British Medical Journal, early recognition very important as early intervention very significant in the patient’s life.

Good Practice

  • Communication through diagrams and use of bigger font when sending letters out.
  • Patient forum group for Learning Difficulties.
  • Patient Survey
  • Regular reviews and easy access to the GP
  • Highlight that the patient has learning difficulties and will require more time with the GP such as a double appointment.

Our Approach

Health awareness plays an important part in the way we support people with a learning disability. Our work involves producing resources for health and social care professionals to enable them to better understand health, diet and nutrition. We also produce resources for people with a learning disability that can help them develop a better awareness of their own health, and give them tools for managing this.

How we work with others
We have an LD Co-ordinator who works with our Practice team to raise the bar on quality of care and access to appointments at our College Health Practices. Our Practices aspire to become LD Friendly and have commenced a programme of change to make this happen.

We will provide the necessary training for all staff to understand the needs and necessary support needed to provide healthcare for learning difficulties. We have liaised with a partner specialist organisation to share good practice and together we will build expertise in this field of work and take these ideas forward to provide a very worthwhile service for both the patient and the carers.