Access to Health Care

People with a learning disability must be involved in all decisions about their health, and be in control over these choices. Some of the barriers to equal access to healthcare faced by people with a learning disability are:

  • Lack of information that is easy to understand.
  • ‘Diagnostic overshadowing’ - when signs and symptoms are mistakenly attributed to the person’s learning disability.
  • Family carers and others who know the person well are not listened to when they are often able to describe changes in the person in a way that will aid diagnosis.
  • A hospital might assume that the person has 24-hour support, when in fact they only get a few hours’ support a week and will need some extra help to follow the post-discharge treatment plan.


Contents of this mini book:

  • General information about the NHS
  • Who does what?
  • How is the NHS regulated?
  • Why do we need to think about how people with a learning disability access the NHS?
  • How does The Equality Act 2010 ensure people with a learning disability have equal access to healthcare?
  • What are reasonable adjustments?
  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and access to healthcare
  • What to do if things do not go well: The NHS Complaints process
  • Top Tips to involve someone you support in their health care
  • In Summary