People with learning disabilities are dying young from preventable and treatable medical conditions at a far higher rate than the general population, NHS England statistics reveal*.
‘Far higher than’ equates to a woman with a learning disability losing her life 27 years sooner on average than a woman without a learning disability.
For men, their lifespan is shortened by 22 years if they have a learning disability compared to men who don’t.
The statistics are so shocking they have triggered a new campaign delivered by an experienced team of health educators, themselves with learning disabilities, supported by leading local charity Grapevine. The campaign has the full support of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups for Coventry, Rugby and Warwickshire and Coventry City Council.
The campaign is particularly time critical in a global pandemic where people are more isolated from families and communities than ever before.
The Health Team at Grapevine has identified the first important rung on the ladder to improved health outcomes and is calling for more people to have an Annual Health Check with their doctor – a free check they are entitled to have from the age of 14… but one many know little or nothing about.
With just 39 per cent of people with learning disabilities taking GPs up on this offer, the ‘My Life, My Rights, My Health, My Choice’ campaign is seeking to double that number in 2020/21.
An Annual Health Check can identify undetected health conditions early, ensure that any ongoing treatments remain appropriate and also increase trust and continuity of health care for some of the people most at risk of becoming poorly and going untreated.
The Health Team has devised leaflets, posters, a booklet and an animated explainer video to appeal to people with learning disabilities and everyone associated with their wellbeing, to raise awareness of these checks.
They launch their campaign with an online event on Zoom today (29 September) – introduced by Health Team member and Grapevine Trustee, Joanne Finney, and attended by health and social care professionals, schools, colleges, parents and carers.
The event features the real life health experiences of Shannon, Ashley, Hayley and Susie. Susie, for example, has been in and out of hospital throughout the COVID-19 crisis and works closely with Grapevine to keep from becoming isolated.
Today’s launch sets in motion two weeks of planned promotional activity online (due to changing COVID-19 restrictions). The Health Team will continue to spread their message to people and communities in Coventry and Warwickshire over the next ten months.
*Source: Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) report by NHS England, 2019.
To join today’s event, please click here (opens Facebook in a new window).
Contact the Health Team by email for information and advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that an appointment for an Annual Health Check is booked directly with your doctor’s surgery.