Illustration of a friendly male doctor reminding young people to Check in at your doctors, Check up on your health and Check out your Health Action Plan.

Did you know that young people aged 14 or over with a learning disability are entitled to a free NHS health check every year?

A health check is a chance for you and your child to talk to the GP or nurse about any health or wellbeing concerns you may have and for GPs to spot and treat any health problems early. It can help young people learn new ways to look after themselves, therefore building their independence and supporting them to live a happier, healthier life. 

There are many benefits of having an annual health check:  

  • Young people can build their confidence of going to the surgery and their familiarity with practice staff.

  • Help to identify any previously undetected health needs or health conditions.

  • Health needs are acted upon, for example, referrals to other health care practitioners can be made.

  • GPs and practice staff can get to know the young person better when they are not unwell. 

  • An individual Health Action Plan will be developed. 

  • Additional information can be added to the Summary Care Record which can ‘flag’ your child or young person’s needs or reasonable adjustments so that all healthcare professionals that care for them are aware. 

Talking about the importance of health checks, Councillor Margaret Bell, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health said:    

“Anyone aged 14 or above with a learning disability is entitled to a free annual health check. An annual health check can improve a young person's health by spotting problems earlier. It can help them to learn new ways to look after themselves, therefore building their independence and supporting them to live a happier, healthier life.  

“The check-up is carried out by the young person’s doctor during which they will check their weight, height and blood pressure and will discuss any existing or new health concerns. After the check-up, the young person will be given a Health Action Plan reminding them what they need to do to stay healthy. It may also include details of any further tests or treatment required.” 

Dr Angela Brady, Chief Medical Officer of Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board, said:   

“Sometimes when you are young you don’t think about going to the doctor; but spotting changes earlier, can help you learn how to manage your health and stay well as you become an adult.  

"We know that people with a learning disability can sometimes be more affected than others with their health in the long term. With the support of your local surgery, you can take control of your own health and improve your wellbeing for the long term through Annual Health Checks.” 

To receive an invitation to a health check, the young person must be registered on their GPs learning disability register. To check if your child or young person is registered, or to book a free health check, contact your GP surgery.

Watch this video for more information about the Annual Health Check or look at this easy read leaflet.   

For more information and advice about local services and support for families with children and young people aged 0 to 25, who have special educational needs and/or disabilities visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/send. You can also keep up to date with the latest SEND Warwickshire news by following the Local Offer Facebook page and by signing up to the SEND Warwickshire newsletter here.   

Published: 1st August 2022