Getting it Right in Reading

 Getting it Right in Reading is a Learning Disability (LD) health project that aims to improve healthcare experiences and outcomes for people in Reading with a learning disability.

Maybe you're thinking "What's the problem?" If so, watch this short video, produced by the national charity, Royal Mencap. You'll get the idea. This is part of their current campaign Treat Me Well. You can sign up to support this campaign at There is also a second video dealing with Reasonable Adjustments. It will appear at the end of the first video: just click on it to continue watching.

Getting it Right in Reading provides:

  • A ‘Resource Pack’ for GPs, and for practice staff and the GP Learning Disability Lead to support their understanding of LD, how to make reasonable adjustments to support learning disability health checks and generally to provide a better service for people with learning disabilities. You can view and/or download the resource pack by clicking on the blue link.
  • Our dedicated Health Family Adviser offers group and one-to-one support for people with LD to understand about annual health checks and how to get one by registering on their GP’s Learning Disability Register.
  • One-to-one casework for adults with learning disabilities to manage specific health issues.
  • Support for adults with learning disabilities to use the ‘Talkback’ Health Passport.
  • Information for carers about helping their dependent adult with a learning disability to manage their health.

We take referrals for casework from GP Practices, Social Care, CTPLD and other healthcare professionals or Care Providers to our Health Family Adviser, who is part of our Family Support Team. People with LD can sometimes lead chaotic lives which can lead them to neglect their health. They may get no or little social care support or paid carers may not notice a chronic health problem which is escalating. We can help people in this situation get the help they need and, working with their GP practice, help to set them on the path to better health through Annual Health Checks, improved nutrition, opportunities for exercise and social interaction.

The Project is supported by the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups.

As part of this project, there are two useful very short videos to help ensure people with a learning disability don't miss out when it comes to their health. Please click on the images to view them.

The first talks about not missing out on your annual health check. The second shows what happens during your annual health check.  You can also download a Don't Miss Out on your Annual Health Check poster.


And this video from the LD-Lead at Lambeth CCG is targeted at practice staff in a GP surgery. It informs and reminds them about what should happen in an annual health check for a learning-disabled person and what problems can be anticipated so that things can go as smoothly as possible.



Our Top Three Priorities at Reading Mencap

Members of Coffee Club tell Healthwatch Reading what's important to them

  1. Staff trained in learning disabilities Healthwatch Reading visits Coffee Club
  2. Seeing the same GP, and
  3. Enough, good quality care

These are priorities people supported by Reading Mencap would like to see in their health and social care services.


Our Top Three Priorities have been published by Healthwatch Reading based on the findings from two ‘listening visits’ to Reading Mencap, where they heard the views of staff and people with learning disabilities.

Three themes emerged from Reading Mencap staff in talking about the experiences of their clients:

  • The importance of getting an assessment that reflects the real needs of the individual
  • The need to provide consistent and adequate care
  • The need for the NHS to make adjustments to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities.

Healthwatch Reading heard that the way in which social care plans are drawn up and implemented is having a serious impact on the mental health of many people with learning disabilities, who typically experience high anxiety about forms and processes.

People with learning disabilities will often have a limited understanding of the process, or how what they say may affect what is put in their plan. This is resulting in social care plans that do not meet their needs.

Healthwatch Reading were also told by members of Reading Mencap’s Coffee Club that they are not getting the social care support they need at home and in going out.

Several have had their care needs reassessed recently, resulting in the allocated number of care hours being reduced. Most people in the group don’t have a social worker and if they need to speak to one they talk to a duty officer who has no background knowledge of their needs.

However, several people did say their support workers do a tremendous job.

Coffee Club members also reported that things are not so good now as when there was a specialist learning disability team of social workers a Reading Borough Council.

Reading Mencap also suggested key reasonable adjustments:

  • Surgeries ensure they offer an annual health check and non-routine appointments at a time when the person with a learning disability can be supported by someone they know
  • Care is taken to obtain proper consent to treatment, which can take more time to do when a person has a learning disability
  • A ‘lead’ GP in Reading to raise awareness of the needs of patients with learning disabilities.

Healthwatch Reading is working with local charities to ensure the views and needs of people who are ‘seldom heard’ are available to the NHS locally and to Reading Borough Council to inform both commissioning and quality improvements in services.

Themes from the report and the recommendations of Healthwatch Reading spanning the whole series of reports in this project will be included in a final report in due course. The report can be read in full here