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Information on coronavirus for people with learning disabilities


Find information, guidance and tips to do with coronavirus on our coronavirus web pages.

It's also important that you complete this Grab and Go form. The form will help doctors and nurses treat you if you go to hospital because of COVID-19 and, for example, are struggling to breathe.

Here is some guidance which will help you complete the form.

It is not a replacement for the everyday, detailed hospital passport. You should update your hospital passport and take that to hospital along with the Grab and Go guide if you need to be admitted.

You can download a hospital passport from the Mencap website.


What is a learning disability?


Mencap is a leading UK charity who work to improve the lives of people with a learning disability. Their definition of a learning disability is “a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life”.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people.

What’s the difference between a learning disability and a learning difficulty?


People with learning difficulties may also take longer to learn and require additional support. However, unlike learning disabilities, learning difficulties such as dyslexia and ADHD do not affect general intelligence.

Annual health checks for people with learning disabilities

  stamp saying 'don't miss out'


People with learning disabilities often experience poorer physical and mental health than other people in their communities. But this doesn’t have to be the case. One way we can ensure people with learning disabilities get the healthcare they need is through annual health checks.

If you’re over the age of 14 and have a learning disability, you’re eligible for an annual health check. As they happen once a year, you should have received an invite to your health check within the last 12 months. If you haven't received one, you should contact your GP.

If you did receive an invite, but didn't attend your health check, we'd like to encourage you to rearrange one through your GP practice.

What happens during an annual health check, and why should I go?


During your annual health check, either a doctor or nurse will assess how healthy you are.

This is important because if anything's wrong then the doctor or nurse can sort it out before it gets worse. They will check things like your height, weight and blood pressure. They will also give you advice on how to stay well.

Take a look at our Easy Read guides to GP appointments and annual health checks.

Here's a short video on what to expect from your annual health check.


Documents to help you manage your annual health check


We’ve worked with Essex County Council to create the below documents. These documents have been designed to support patients with a learning disability to get the most out of their annual health checks. Your GP should post a Pre-Health Check Questionnaire and Gold Standard Health Check document to you when they send you your annual health check invite.

If you don't receive these at the same time as your health check invite, please email us at to let us know.

The Pre-Health Check Questionnaire will help you prepare for the appointment. You should take your completed Pre-Health Check Questionnaire with you to your health check. The nurse or doctor seeing you will use this information during your health check.

The Action Plan is a document the clinician will fill in and provide you with at the end of your check-up.

The Gold Standard Health Check document will provide you with the details of what a good annual health check should look like to help you make the most of your appointment with the nurse or GP.

If you feel that you would like some support for your annual health check appointment to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible, speak to your local GP practice to discuss your support needs.

We’re working closely with Essex County Council to improving the health outcomes of our patients. If you have any feedback on the information documents provided, please let us know by emailing

For additional information on support services for people with learning disabilities or special educational needs, visit the Essex Local Offer website.

Essex Learning Disability Partnership


The Community Teams provide specialist healthcare to adults with learning disabilities whose needs cannot be met by mainstream services alone. These teams help to ensure that people with learning disabilities receive the same care and treatment as everyone else when there is a concern about their physical or mental health.

Community Learning Disability Teams work in collaboration with other professionals to ensure that the individual’s health needs are met. They do this by providing high quality assessments and evidence based care plans which are evaluated with the individual and their support network.

Intensive support nurses work with people who have severe and complex needs such as: behavioural, physical, mental, emotional or sensory and which have increased to require a higher level of support. They help support people to remain in the community and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions by providing a rapid response, focused assessment and intervention, together with short-term treatment and support for carers. The teams also provide a range of intensive community interventions.

Learn more about the Essex Learning Disability Partnership

Other ways you can stay well


As well as getting an annual health check, there are other aspects of your health you should keep an eye on.

Take a look at our Easy Read guides to staying healthy.

Guide to Healthy Digestion
Guide to Healthy Eating
Guide to Healthy Lifestyles

For women, it’s important to attend a ‘smear test’, also known as a cervical screening. You should receive an invite at these times, depending on your age:

  • up to 6 months before you turn 25
  • 25 to 49 - every 3 years
  • 50 to 64 - every 5 years
  • 65 or older - only if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal

Going to the dentist or hospital?


Essex County Council have produced a series of videos on YouTube to help people with learning disabilities prepare for various health checks.

Tackling over-medication


The STOMP and STAMP programme of work is about making sure children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both are only prescribed the right medication, at the right time and for the right reason.

STOMP stands for Stopping The Over‑Medication of children and young People with a learning disability, autism or both.

STAMP stands for Supporting Treatment and Appropriate Medication in Paediatrics.

This leaflet is for families of children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both who may be prescribed (or are prescribed) psychotropic medication.

This leaflet is for a support worker who is accompanying a person with a learning disability, autism or both to a GP or consultant appointment.

Access an Easy Read guide to STOMP.

Helpful links


Summit have been providing advocacy services for over 40 years. They're based in Clacton.

Are you in education? Learn about the Multi-Schools Council on our Children and Young People with SEND web page.

Making sure your voice is heard

Here at the CCG, we're committed to including the patient voice within all of the work that we deliver. Read some examples of how we do this below. If you want to get involved with helping the CCG deliver the best health service possible, please contact us on

100 day challenge - supporting young adults leaving education in Colchester

Over the last year, we've been working closely with partners at Essex County Council on a project called the 100 day Challenge for Learning Disability.

The CCG were part of a team called 'Smashing Barriers'. Other partners on the team included Essex Cares Ltd, Essex County Council, Marketfields School and Essex Carers Network.

Our team focus was supporting young adults leaving education in Colchester. We listened to young people with learning disabilities and autism and their families/carers to better understand their needs. Using their insight, we created opportunities for young people to build their skills, confidence and gain employment.

Learn more about the project

The 100 day challenge was also the birthplace of 'Nick's Rule'.

In a nutshell “Nick’s Rule” is an approach to decision making that makes sure everyone has an equal voice and the opportunity for their ideas to be heard. It is the brainchild of Nicholas Bunyon who, during the 100 Day Challenge, was taking part in a supported internship programme for young people with learning disabilities and autism at Essex County Council.

So how did the rule first come about?

Nick was part of the ‘leadership team’ - a group of decision makers, service managers, and commissioners from Essex County Council and organisations across Essex who provided oversight and enabling support for the 100 Day Challenge.

Nick explains: “It all started on the Day 25 event of the 100 Day Challenge, this was a leadership meeting where a lot of things were said about why the challenge might not work.

“I then expressed my own ideas and said what was on my mind, being passionate about changing the way things are currently done and run.”

Nick’s ideas formed the basis of a set of rules that Nick worked on with people in the council and community groups to develop into a quality standard and assessment tool. This tool aims to ensure:

  • All ideas are heard
  • Everyone has a voice
  • Decisions can be made by people who aren’t in the most senior positions
  • People have the freedom to carry out their ideas
  • People have a budget to allow them to carry on with ideas and plans

Read the results of the 100 Day Challenge in full

The Collaboration Forum

We attend the Collaboration Forum facilitated by Healthwatch Essex, to work closely with patients who have disabilities that struggle to access NHS systems and utilise this discussions to transform our local services for the better.

The Learning Disabilities Steering Group

The CCG also chair the LD Steering Group which monitors local contracts and delivery processes for patients with Learning Disabilities. The group is early in its development but will soon have representation from SUMMIT and Healthwatch Essex.

These key partners will help ensure the patient voice is a key part of all developments and work streams moving forward. The group are also in the process of appointing a Co-Chair. The Co-Chair will be a patient with Learning Disabilities, and will help us drive the agenda forward.

Learning Disability Charter and Provider Responsibilities

The CCG commissions (pays) lots of different organisations to provide healthcare services. These organisations are known as providers. From January 2020, all new contracts with providers will include a set of new requirements which relate specifically to patients with learning disabilities.

These requirements are:

  • Demonstrate compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and have in place a comprehensive Learning Disability Policy and supporting standing operating procedures to deliver appropriate and safe care to people with learning disabilities.
  • Actively contribute to the Alliance LD work programme and Place Plan to deliver the agreed system outcomes.
  • All patients should have a hospital passport with the inclusion where appropriate of a specialist pain assessment such as the Disability Distress Assessment (DisDAT) tool and a specialist management plan for complex needs.
  • Demonstrate through engagement and patient experience how services are meeting the needs of patients with learning disabilities.
  • All providers to provide appropriate assistance and make reasonable adjustments for Service Users who have communication difficulties and this includes people with a learning difficulty. Providers should audit their compliance against this standard annually and must demonstrate at the contract review meetings the extent to which service improvements have been made as a result (as per current national contract).

Read our Learning Disability Charter


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