Today, during National Patient Participation Week, we have launched new, free #MyGPandMe training. The #MyGPandMe training is available to all healthcare professionals and non-clinical staff, and aims to make doctors’ surgeries more accessible for those with learning disabilities or autism.
The e-learning will help to address health inequalities and barriers, many of which have been highlighted by programmes such as the national Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme. The Somerset LeDeR programme reviews the deaths of people with a learning disability to see where it can find areas of learning, opportunities to improve and examples of excellent practice, and identified annual health checks (AHCs) for people a learning disability as a key area for improvement in its 2019 annual report.
You can hear advocacy lead, Dr Mark Brookes MBE and locality manager, Harriet Withams talk about the training on BBC Radio Somerset (approximately 1 hr 33 mins in) by clicking here
Current research shows that people with a learning disability die, on average, 25 years earlier than their counterparts in the general population. Research by Dimensions shows the importance of training such as #MyGPandMe to improve the accessibility of healthcare settings for people with a learning disability and/ or autism. In previous surveys by Dimensions, 98% of GPs surveyed said they would benefit from training led by someone with lived experience and 74% said that they would like training on making reasonable adjustments.
Encouragingly, in Dimensions’ most recent report, #MyGPandMe Building Better Together, 48% of respondents with a learning disability stated that they felt happy in their primary care setting. However, just 22% of people said they felt independent in their primary care setting, underlining the need for additional support and adjustments. 33% of disabled people additionally said they felt stressed going to the doctor and 43% said they felt worried.
The launch of the #MyGPandMe training in Somerset is being marked with a virtual event to be attended by representatives from local GP practices, self-advocacy groups, public bodies and community organisations. Those invited to attend the launch include Somerset County Council, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme.
For more information about the campaign, please visit the #MyGPandMe page on the Dimensions website.
Dr Mark Brookes MBE, Advocacy Lead at Dimensions, said: “As someone with a learning disability, I think this training is brilliant. I’ve been involved in creating the training videos alongside people who are supported by Dimensions, so that doctors and GP surgery staff can learn from our personal experiences.
“My message to anyone working in healthcare in Somerset is to definitely do this training. I hope as lockdown eases, more and more people will be able to have their annual health checks in person again, and that this training will help GPs to really take time for the adjustments that people need.”
Helen Orford, Managing Director of Discovery, said: “Discovery is proud to be part of the #MyGPandMe campaign, which seeks to make primary healthcare more accessible for people with a learning disability and/ or autism in primary care settings. In our latest research, just half of respondents with a learning disability felt involved in decisions about their own healthcare. Our campaign aims to change this by educating professionals and partnering with local organisations to make the best possible primary healthcare a reality for people across Somerset.”