Health checks for people with learning disabilities rise significantly during campaign

This just in – the number of Annual Health Checks carried out for people with learning disabilities in Coventry and Warwickshire has jumped up 32 per cent in the past 12 months!

The steady climb from 39 per cent in April 2020 – at the start of the UK’s Covid crisis – to just over 71 per cent in March this year* rose concurrently with the pace of Grapevine’s Health Team ‘My Life, My Rights, My Health, My Choice’ awareness raising campaign.

Annual Health Checks campaign artwork by Grapevine with a SUCCESS stamp on it in red

Undeterred by lockdown, the Campaign Crew – made up of people with learning disabilities using their knowledge and experience to influence peers and professionals – focused their efforts on producing promotional posters, flyers, banners, booklets and an animated explainer video.

The campaign set out to demystify the Annual Health Checks process and promote its potential as a tool to help people live longer, healthier lives.

It launched between lockdowns in September 2020 with a virtual audience of more than 40 health, social care and education workers, care providers, voluntary organisations, parents, carers and people with learning disabilities.

The collaborative launch helped unite and invigorate people on a mission for change.

At the heart of the cause were high mortality rates for people with learning disabilities who were dying up to 27 years younger** than other people, frequently from preventable and treatable conditions that could have been identified during an annual check on their health.

Jo Tasker, Health Team project worker for Grapevine, said: “It’s been a sustained, joint effort with public health services and numerous agencies pulling together.

“The Health Team and Campaign Crew have been fantastic! They should be really proud of their achievements.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire target for Annual Health Checks for people with learning disabilities is 52 per cent, while the national target is 67 per cent.

North and South Warwickshire achieved 75 per cent a piece for 2020-21 and Coventry scored 67.3 per cent, bringing the average for the local area in at 71.3 per cent.

This is encouraging news, particularly for future public health campaigns that can be supported and promoted by the people who stand to benefit most from their messages. Watch this space!

The Health Team now shifts its focus to the promotion of Health Action Plans that are initiated by GPs during the health check process in partnership with the patient.

Click here to watch ‘A guide to Annual Health Checks’ to learn more.

Click here for our most recent check in on the Annual Health Check campaign, including details of extensive partnership work and cooperation, campaign aims and target audiences.

*Figures from Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group, May 2021.

**Source: LeDeR Report 2019.