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GP Access: Learning Disabilities

Volume 650: debated on Tuesday 27 November 2018

People with learning disabilities still face significant health inequalities. Data from 2017 shows that about half of patients with a learning disability received an annual GP health check, and our target is 75% by 2020. We will shortly consult on plans to introduce mandatory learning disability and autism training for all health and care staff.

There are shocking health inequalities between people with learning disabilities and the general population, and that is recognised by GPs: 60% say that they have received less than a day’s training in how to meet the needs of patients with learning disabilities and autism, while 98% say that they would appreciate more training. The Government are clearly failing people with learning disabilities. Will they commit themselves to ensuring that every new GP who is trained in England is also given training in how to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities and autism?

Yes. That is already part of the training framework. As I have said, however, we are consulting from early next year on plans to make training on learning disabilities and autism mandatory for all health and care staff, not just medical professionals.

Let me start by thanking my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for his support last Thursday on 22q Awareness Day; 22q11 deletion syndrome is second only to Down’s syndrome in its prevalence as a genetic condition, but perhaps surprisingly, there is a remarkably low level of awareness among GPs of this condition, which can lead to avoidable mental health issues in children. Will the Minister meet me to discuss options to increase awareness in the first instance, but also to improve early diagnosis and treatment?

I congratulate my hon. Friend on all the excellent work that he is doing to draw attention to this condition, and I should be happy to meet him.