HEALTH: Disability training vital

The importance of the relationship between a GP and patient cannot be ignored any longer.

Friday, 31st May 2019, 8:00 am

The latest figures show that, faced with increasing workloads and pressures, four out of 10 GPs plan to quit in the next five years.

For patients, this means a consistent relationship with a GP is increasingly out of reach, and for people with learning disabilities, the implications are alarming.

When they are passed from GP to GP, who aren’t receiving the right support to make reasonable adjustments to their needs, conversations break down and it becomes far more likely that health issues will go undiagnosed and untreated.

Dimensions’ #MyGPandMe research found that people with learning disabilities are 30 per cent less likely to feel listened to by their GP, and only half feel involved in decisions about their healthcare.

Despite the pressures they face, three-quarters of GPs told us they would like training on how to meet the needs of patients with learning disabilities.

The Government must recognise this, and the consultation into mandatory learning disability training for healthcare professionals is hugely encouraging.

We urgently need rigid measures to ensure all GPs receive training and support to better communicate and diagnose health issues.

This will go a long way towards beginning to address the health and life expectancy inequality that people with learning disabilities face.

Alicia Wood,

Dimensions Head of Public Affairs