« Back to Covid-19 Home Page

COVID-19 clinical support

The current category is Managing Co-morbidities during Covid-19 pandemic

Learning disabilities & autism

Community services in SEL

Patients with LD have a higher incidence of respiratory disease and may be significantly impacted by the coronavirus. This document is a practical guide to how to approach assessment and care in these patients.

  • Continuing to support people with a learning disability (Updated 10th November from NHS England Primary Care Bulletin)

Delivering proactive health checks for people with a learning disability continues to be an important activity to promote the health of this group of patients. 

Healthcare professionals should discuss with the patient (if considered to have mental capacity), their carer or their advocate the most suitable and safe way to conduct a health check. Where this can be delivered safely on a face to face basis this should continue. Where this is not possible, or where the patient has other medical conditions which require them to shield or socially isolate, the review could be conducted remotely with as much of the physical review completed as is practicable in these circumstances.

Practices should use their clinical judgement and knowledge of the patient, together with the advice of family or other carers, in determining whether they would be able to participate in a remote review. Reasonable adjustments should be made to accommodate the needs of patients and carers as well as considering the capacity and capability of the GP practice whilst working in different ways. Where practices can demonstrate that they are taking an individual approach to health check delivery and are completing as much of the prescribed elements as practicable then they will be eligible for payment under the DES during 2020/21.

The delivery of care to this group of patients is further supported this year through the amended QOF Quality Improvement requirements and an additional incentive for health check coverage available to the Primary Care Network through the Investment and Impact Fund.

  • Covid-19 and Down syndrome (added 19th November 2020)

In light of the recent analysis by Public Health England, that deaths from Covid-19 were ‘six times higher’ among people with learning disabilities, and the new government rules on shielding for people with Down’s syndrome, we’ve been asked by Mencap to publicise this resource pack from the Down’s Syndrome Association, to help all health and social care professionals understand the current issues facing this cohort.

Information on shielding advice for adults with Down syndrome is available via the Downs Syndrome Medical Interest Group