Everyone needs to access health services at some point in their life. When you become an adult, some of the health services you used as a child will change. This page explains the different services that are available for adults, including:
- Mainstream services like your GP
- Specialist services which are only for people with a learning disability
Your main contact for general health needs as an adult is your GP at your local doctor’s surgery. Your GP can provide:
- Advice on health problems
- Prescriptions & medicines
- Examinations and treatment
- Referrals to other health services
You can find more information, including how to register with a GP on Southampton CCG's website
People with a learning disability often have poorer physical and mental health than others.
This can sometimes make it hard for them to know when they are unwell or how to tell someone about it.
An annual health check can improve health by finding problems earlier. Anyone over the age of 14 with a learning disability can have an annual health check.
This gives people time to talk about anything that is worrying them with their GP or nurse.
To find out more about having an annual health check please visit the NHS England website.
You can also watch this video, which gives more information about what to expect at your health check.
Some GP practices in Southampton have signed up to be ‘Learning Disability friendly’. This means they will have good knowledge about how best to support someone with a learning disability to visit their GP. Changes they might make include having easy-read information, learning disability awareness training for staff, help people to have an annual health check or make other reasonable adjustments.
There are currently five LD friendly GP practices in Southampton:
- Alma Medical Centre
- Woolston Lodge Surgery
- Aldermoor Surgery
- Stoneham Lane Surgery
- Weston Lane and Ladies Walk Practice (part of the Living Well Partnership)
Work is ongoing to increase the number of practices that are Learning Disability friendly.
Some people with learning disabilities need more specialist support, as well as the health services that are open to everyone.
The Community Learning Disability Team can provide specialist health assessments and support which generic health services cannot provide. The service is run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
People who need support from this team will have needs relating to one or more of:
- Challenging Behaviour
- Mental Health
- Complex Physical Health
The team includes learning disability nurses, speech and language therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, physios, and occupational therapists.
They can work closely with social workers from the council and also support providers to make sure people are getting the right support for their health needs.
If you need to go into hospital either for a planned operation or as an emergency, the Hospital Liaison Team can help you.
Their knowledge on how to help people with a learning disability is second to none and will mean the best health support for those who need it.
One of the things they can help with is putting together a Hospital Passport. This should have useful information about why people might struggle understanding or communicating.
It also gives useful tips for doctors, nurses and other staff to follow so they can communicate with you effectively.
People are advised to create a hospital passport before they feel unwell rather than waiting until they need to go into hospital.
You can find out more about getting support when you go to hospital on the NHS website.
NHS screenings can lead to spotting cancer and other diseases early, which means you have a better chance of coming through illness.
There are different types of screening which people will be invited to, depending on their gender and age. The screening services should provide reasonable adjustments so that people with learning disabilities can access them.
If you or someone you support has any unusual symptoms always speak to your GP straight away.
You can find out more about cancer screening on the Macmillan Cancer Support website.
This team can work with a person to understand challenging behaviour, what maintains it and what function it services.
They work within a ‘Positive Behaviour Support’ framework which develops effective support for the person. This includes proactive and reactive strategies.
This service supports adults with a learning disability who have offended, or are at risk of offending.
This services helps them stay out of trouble and live safely in their local community. Both of these teams can be found via the Community Learning Disability team.
Young people between the ages of 14-25 who have complex physical disabilities and a Southampton GP can receive support from the Transition Therapy Team.
Their goal is to support disabled young people to become empowered adults. They work with physically disabled young people and their families to support growing independence.
This helps young people to feel more able to take the lead in their healthcare.
Occupational therapy and physiotherapy can support young people to develop a wide range of skills and links with other agencies to help with their future.