I support someone with a learning disability or autism to see their doctor

#MyGPandMe is working with GP staff, support workers, families and people with learning disabilities or autism to improve their experiences at the doctors.

This page is for people who support someone with a learning disability or autism to see their doctor. It has some real life examples of how support teams and GP practices improved care for patients and some resources you can use with the people you support and their doctor.

Our research found that 55% of GPs identified communication issues between patients, support workers and GPs as an obstacle. But, it also found that GPs would like to do more to be more accessible.

Supporting someone to the doctors

  1. Read our report: My GP and Me – Making Care Fair
    We surveyed GPs, people with learning disabilities or autism and support workers to gather thoughts and experiences on the accessibility of health care.
  2. Better understand health inequality people with learning disabilities or autism face
    Our research shows that many people experience difficulties accessing timely and effective care. Some areas in particular require urgent attention.
  3. Personalise our free social story template
    This is a tool used to help prepare for a journey. You can personalise this template with photos and information about their journey so they know what to expect.
  4. Download our free Tips to help me at the doctors resource
    This is for the person you support to complete and give to surgery staff before their appointment. You can use this to work together and better understand how everyone can support their visit.
  5. Talk to the doctor about their Health Action Plan
    These are personalised plans that tackle identified health priorities. Encourage the doctor and the person you support to discuss their plan together.
  6. Encourage the person you support to join the Learning Disability Register
    People on the Learning Disability Register are entitled to one free health check every year. It also helps the doctors understand their needs more.

What are reasonable adjustments?

Reasonable adjustments are steps taken to make a service accessible for someone with a disability. But, our research found that over half of people with learning disabilities or autism said their doctor did not make reasonable adjustments for them.

Reasonable adjustments can include:

  • documents printed in large print
  • Easy Read information and social stories
  • extra time with the doctor
  • somewhere quiet to wait
  • opportunities to visit and get used to the surgery before their appointment.

As a support worker, you have the opportunity to work with your GP surgery and help them make the right adjustments for the person you support.

Real stories and inspiration

These case studies are real life examples of how collaborative working and a few reasonable adjustments have made the world of difference.

Helping Paul overcome his anxiety

Proper health checks for a group

Helping Sarah with a gynaecological appointment

Health care resources

There are a number of resources you can use with the person you support to not only prepare them for their visit to the doctors, but also to help maintain good health.

Constipation toolkit

It is estimated that half of people with a learning disability suffer from long term constipation. Long term constipation is symptomatic of poor health and causes ongoing reductions in quality of life through discomfort, pain and the need to take additional medication.

This toolkit can help treat and prevent constipation for the people you support.

Books Beyond Words

Books Beyond Words have produced a number of accessible books around health and wellbeing. These include books on going to the doctor and about specific health issues.

Find out more on the Books Beyond Words website.

Have an inspiring story to share?

We want to hear examples of best practice to help us inspire GPs and show them the difference they can make.

Complete the form below or tweet using #MyGPandMe to share how your GP surgery helped you.

  • Please share details of best practice you have seen, delivered or received.