Skip to content

Q logo

What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

On average, people with a learning disability live 18 years less than the general population, (LEDER review). Evidence shows people with a learning disability struggle to access timely Annual Health Checks (AHCs). Covid-19 has compounded this as healthcare professionals have struggled to adapt to meet reasonable adjustments.

Surrey and Sussex ICSs adapted services to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities. They strengthened partnerships with third sector and voluntary organisations such as Active Prospects, Post-19, Speak Out and Impact Advocacy.

In recognising digital reasonable adjustments to ensure person centred care, positive changes included:

  • collaborative discussions to restart AHCs
  • Surrey awarded exemplar site status
  • Learning Disability liaison champions identified
  • promoting reasonable adjustments underpinned by Sussex’s Quality Kite mark
  • pathway redevelopment to support triaging and assessment, face to face or virtually

What does your project aim to achieve?

We aim to empower people to choose their preferred appointment format, use care passports and access existing life skills programmes delivered by our voluntary partners.

We will:

  • co-produce pathways with service users, working in partnership with the Surrey People’s group, Sussex’s Learning Disability Program Board and the KSS Learning Disability Community of Practice
  • support GP practices restarting AHCs, by applying learning from digital appointment use cases
  • promote staff proactiveness with reasonable adjustments, using the pre-assessment questionnaire to support virtual appointments or ensuring wheelchair scales are accessible
  • expand My Social Time model, a virtual social engagement forum for young adults, focussed on emotional health and wellbeing. The model’s success will be strengthened by group consultations, run by SEN co-ordinators, Learning Disability Liaison Nurses and GP champions underpinned by peer to peer support for emotional health and wellbeing

How will the project be delivered?

We will report to: Surrey People’s group, Sussex’s Learning Disability Program Board and the KSS Learning Disability Community of Practice on our project steps of:

  1. Launching a GP practice campaign, using the right team and skill mix, to stratify practices with low numbers of completed AHCs to recruit to the project by May 2021
  2. Starting to train staff and blend existing training materials by June 2021, focusing on:
    • highlighting reasonable adjustments and individual needs
    • identifying champions
    • establishing the adapted My Social Time model
  3. Produce recommendations in a full report by May 2022, building on quarterly feedback from staff, people with learning disabilities, their families and carers in collaboration with the Applied Research Collaborative Kent Surrey Sussex. Staff will also feedback on reasonable adjustments in practice and facilitation of AHCs underpinned by the integrated My Social Time model.

How is your project going to share learning?

We will support AHCs using a blended approach of digital training and innovative social models. Only 53% of people with a learning disability have a health check (NHS digital data, 2016-2017), but this figure relates to those who are on their GP’s learning disability register. This is despite evidence (Mencap) that health inequalities for people with a learning disability result in 1,200 avoidable deaths and has worsened during Covid (ONS).

Our aim is to prove the concept of blending digital skills and reasonable adjustment training with the My Social Time model, prioritising emotional wellbeing and reducing social isolation to holistically deliver AHCs. We will share best practice to inform coproduced pathway redesign with the wider system and Q members. Other vulnerable groups who may benefit from transferrable learning include those with Serious Mental Illness or long term health conditions. The Q community will also be invaluable in providing constructive feedback about the project.

How you can contribute

  • - Helpful challenge on the idea and approach
  • - Insights and ideas on co-design of evaluation with service users
  • - Link up ideas
  • - Promote and share the interim and final report on social media, as well as offer critical comments
  • - Two way sharing of example training material from this project and similar projects in relation to ‘reasonable adjustments’ and individualised needs
  • - Raise awareness of our Learning Disability 'Call To Action':

Plan timeline

3 May 2021 GP Awareness campaign
30 Jun 2021 Right team and skills
31 Aug 2021 Training for staff
30 Nov 2021 Recommendations for changed practice (interim)
31 May 2022 Analysis patients/healthcare staff
31 May 2022 Recommendations for changed practice (full report)


  1. Guest

    Jules Pflaum 11 months, 2 weeks ago

    This is a good idea and it’s interesting to hear about your collaboration with third sector organisations to deliver life skills programmes and the use of My Social Time. I am part of the bid to improve the accessibility of primary and acute care for autistic people so will follow the development of your project.

    1. Thanks Jules, will look out for progress on your project too and keep you and the wider community posted on how we're getting on. Wishing you all the very best!

  2. Hello, in Wales we are currenlty exploring how to support primary care to deliver the AHCs in a more flexible way whilst ensuring they are accessible and meaningful to people with learning disabilities. I am very interested in the pathway re-development both face to face and digitally around triage and assessment

    I will be following this work with interest, would also appreciate connecting

Leave a comment

If you have a Q account please log in before posting your comment.

Read our comments policy before posting your comment.

This will not be publicly visible

Please note that you won't be able to edit or delete comments once posted.