Annual Health Checks for Young People with Learning Disabilities


If your child is age 14 and over and has a learning disability, their GP (doctor) should offer them an annual health check.

This is because people with a learning disability often have poorer health. This can be their physical or mental health, or both. It gives the young person a chance to meet and get used to visiting the nurse or GP. They should have an annual health check even if they are under the care of a hospital paediatrician.

Who does the Annual Health Check?

Either a:

  • Nurse
  • Doctor, or
  • Physician Associate.

They will go through a checklist to try and avoid problems getting missed.  They base this on what they need to check for on the individual patient. They will also discuss existing conditions such as asthma, epilepsy or constipation.

It is a time to:

  • check healthy eating and weight
  • screen for conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • arrange blood tests if needed
  • plan vaccinations for flu, tetanus and Covid, both for your child and yourself as a carer

Health and care workers need to make it as easy for disabled people to use services as it is for people who are not disabled. This is called making ‘reasonable adjustments’. For example this might include:

  • an appointment time that is easier for the patient to attend with the support of family carers
  • at a time of day when the waiting room will be quieter

This video explains what happens at an annual health check.

If you are a carer

Make sure your GP has coded your notes (and those of other relevant carers) with an ‘Is a carer’ code.  This is so that you get called for flu vaccines and up-to-date Covid advice.

A carer is anybody who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs extra help because of their illness or disability. This includes children under 18. All the care they give is unpaid.

Flu and Covid vaccinations

If your child is eligible for an annual health check but hasn’t been invited

Although most GPs now offer annual health checks, they don’t have to. If you think that your young person should have been invited:

  • Contact your GP and ask if your child is included on their learning disability register. This register helps NHS staff to identify patients who may need extra help or support. Anyone with a learning disability can ask to go on it. It is for people of all ages, and you don't need to have a formal diagnosis of learning disability.
  • If your child is not on the register, ask the surgery to include them and offer them an annual health check.
  • If their GP is unable to offer an annual health check, ask if you can go to a nearby surgery to have it done.

What is it like to have an annual health check?

Watch Mencaps video on young people with a learning disability talk about their annual health checks.


Sheffield Parent Carer Forum have some tips to help you get the most out of the appointment. 

There is more information under Links and documents for families and health workers.  This is at the top right of the page.

Extra support

Sheffield Mencap and Gateway have partnered with GP surgeries across Sheffield to support people to get their annual health check.

If you would like to find out more or request support to attend an annual health check please contact:

Telephone: 01142 767757


Dark pink speak bubble and writing that says Sheffield Mencap & Gateway.