It’s happening again but this time it’s different.
This Friday (30 November) #ConnectingforGood meet for their second Social Living Room at Theatre Absolute in Coventry at 5pm.
But this time the free event starts with an outdoor game around the city centre, designed by Laina and Alice to work up a good appetite ready for soup, homemade bread and thinking up ideas for new adventures in the city and beyond. Plus some light entertainment from Rishard and Paul!
People with learning disabilities in Coventry and Warwickshire are still not having annual health checks with GPs and Grapevine’s H-Team is campaigning to change this on a national level.
They generally have poorer physical and mental health and a significantly lower life expectancy than the general population. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Many premature deaths could be avoided if health conditions were diagnosed promptly and treated effectively.
Annual health checks should be offered to patients registered with participating GPs who are aged 14 and over and who are known to the local authority social services department primarily because of their disability.
General health is discussed in detail during the check and the interaction is used to detect and treat unmet health needs and help manage any pre-existing ones.
The low uptake of annual health checks is a national problem and that is why H-Team project workers Sam and Kyla took a trip to London this week to join an action group workshop of professionals, including many from NHS England. The meeting was initiated by the team’s desire to turn their local frustrations into change at a national, system level.
NHS England’s clinical lead for the ‘Learning Disability Transforming Care Programme’, Kevin Elliott, is leading the action group to start making real changes to the way GPs promote annual health checks and to raise their awareness of their significance in saving lives – from empowering communities to new regulations to training to IT.
Sam says: “We deliver annual health check sessions to our peers, generating an awareness of what they are, their importance and informing them of their rights.
“We have also worked closely with the Central England Law Centre in unpicking the law around health checks and people’s entitlements and rights – spreading this knowledge to parents and carers; giving them tools to help them request the service for the person they care for.
“We have been working with our local hospitals and now our Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to develop and deliver awareness sessions to health professionals so they are confident in engaging with a person with a learning disability when they come into their GP practice or hospital.
“And now we have taken the first step in taking our campaign to a national level, attending the workshop to take action on how we can improve this issue from a national perspective.”
Health is everybody’s responsibility and it is time to make progress on removing some of the inequalities that get in the way of access to the health care that is available for all.
The action group next meets in early December for updates and a focus on training and a competency framework.
Shout out for help!
If you or someone you know has a learning disability and is interested in joining the H-Team to help make your peers more aware of taking care of their health and wellbeing, please get in touch!
Purpose and confidence can transform lives. We know this but how do we know that what we’re doing has a positive, sustainable effect on people and communities?
Helping for the sake of helping can sometimes result in ‘bad help’ that offers short term fixes and fails to hand the reins back to individuals when they’re ready to take over.
This is what the Good Help Project hopes to clarify. The brainchild of Nesta, a global innovation foundation that backs new ideas to tackle big challenges, the project is bringing together case studies from all over the UK to help create a ‘good practice guide for good help’.
Grapevine is one of those case studies – alongside organisations such as The Stroke Association, British Lung Foundation, Mayday Trust, Whizz Kidz and many more. We’ve shared how our work in supporting young people with learning disabilities and the communities in which they live aims to enable everyone to get free of service dependency.
Clare spoke at the launch event in early February and hopes this project might signal a sea-change in the way social programmes are designed and delivered. The project’s seven characteristics of ‘good help’ will also provide public services with a barometer check on how they’re currently delivering these programmes.
Clare will also judge the forthcoming ‘Good Help Awards’ to search out the best of the best in services that are helping people take action.
Andrea and Claire have shared their near win story and their fab photos from yesterday’s Connecting Parents meet up. Organised by one of the parents they got their heads down, just missing out on claiming the full house prize with unlucky number 39! They enjoyed it so much they will be making this a regular event. Key an eye out on their Face Book page for details
Assessment and support procedures for disabled adults, including those transitioning into adulthood: Friday 22nd September at Grapevine
The latest session run by Central England Law Centre Rights In Public Law Education project is on Friday 22nd September. RIPLE helps groups of people who need health and/or social care services know their rights.
Kyla from Grapevine is helping their solicitor Emma to run group sessions for people with learning disabilities and their families. So far they have focused on rights of those aged 14 and over to Annual Health Checks. The call to action from this session was to make contact with your GP to check if they are signed up to deliver Learning Disability Health checks and to confirm that their family member/person they care for is on the Learning Disability register.