This site is intended for health professionals only


GPs to give patients with learning disability and autism ‘priority appointments’

GPs to give patients with learning disability and autism ‘priority appointments’

NHS England will ask GP practices to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for patients with a learning disability or autism such as giving them ‘priority appointments’.

They could also be asked to provide ‘easy-read appointment letters’ to the group, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said yesterday in a new strategy on strengthening support for autistic people and those with a learning disability.

It said the measures aim to support Government plans to reduce reliance on mental health inpatient care, with a target to reduce the number of those with a learning disability or autism in specialist inpatient care by 50% by March 2024 compared with March 2015.

The policy paper said: ‘We know that people experience challenges accessing reasonably adjusted support which may prevent them from having their needs met.’

It added: ‘To make it easier for people with a learning disability and autistic people to use health services, there is work underway in NHS England to make sure that staff in health settings know if they need to make reasonable adjustments for people. 

‘Examples of this include providing easy-read appointment letters or giving people a priority appointment if they find it difficult waiting in their GP surgery or hospital.’ 

NHS England is also developing a ‘reasonable adjustments digital flag’ that will signal that a patient may need reasonable adjustments on their health record, it said.

It plans to make this flag, which is currently being tested, available across all NHS services, it added.

The paper also said the ‘easier GP websites’ that are more accessible and include links to easy-read health information will be ‘tested amongst a self-selecting group of practices with a view to mainstreaming in 2022’.

And it added that the Government wants to ‘encourage more people with a learning disability to request an annual health check’ and will ‘work with NHS England to support actions for those most vulnerable in ethnic minority groups and isolated communities’. 

NHS England’s planning guidance for 2022/23 set out a priority to increase annual health check rates for people aged 14 and over on a GP learning disability register towards the 75% ambition in 2023/24, with each check to be accompanied by a ‘health action plan’.

It also said GPs should prioritise completing patient identification and coding on registers.

Meanwhile, the Government’s autism strategy published in July last year first revealed plans for digital ‘flags’ in patient records and set out further measures such as a trial of health checks for the group in GP practices and investment to reduce waiting times for diagnosis.

READERS' COMMENTS [2]

Decorum Est 15 July, 2022 3:42 pm

‘It said the measures aim to support Government plans to reduce reliance on mental health inpatient care, with a target to reduce the number of those with a learning disability or autism in specialist inpatient care by 50% by March 2024 compared with March 2015.’

Synopses: WORK DUMP!

Patrufini Duffy 15 July, 2022 3:45 pm

They’re making policy papers on such things to avoid addressing the elephants and now tigers in the room.
We were doing this 5 years ago.
They write like surgeries were not – sounds like another stab in the back and mockery.

***I suggest dentists have LD registers and see LD patients actively and look after their oral health – no national policy or accountability on that?

Autism referral access and support: 18 months.
GP access: 1 week or same day.
PLAN: let’s make GPs do more.

“Government plans to reduce reliance on mental health inpatient care, with a target to reduce the number of those with a learning disability or autism in specialist inpatient care by 50% by March 2024 (*and dump bureaucracy into lonesome GPs for cheaper)”. Article could have said “Government plans to reduce reliance on GP services, with a target to reduce the number of time-wasters and DNAs by 50% by March 2024”. But actually it’s plan is to increase your number by 50% whilst everyone else chills out and blocks patient access.
The impenetrable space beyond the abyss.
And the patient fills the feedback form about YOU and how apparently useless you are and how they can’t get an appointment now with a GP they want, at their time, after their holiday and on their terms. Via their app, and their smart gadget which they want to upload, and that they want you to see and want you to print out. Now.

Ok – so go ahead: review client – GP refers anywhere: time to be seen = 6 months (so keep seeing GP as a revolving door) – free follow-up. Free cover-up of lack of services. The GPs will mask our ineptitude. But keep coding that we’re doing “stuff”.

Not long until the Panorama programme with countless GP whistleblowers.