Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

More than three-quarters of disabled children don’t visit the GP about their condition

An investigation by charity Contact a Family found that 76% of disabled children have no GP involvement to help care with their condition. The charity surveyed more than 1,000 families with disabled children in England, following the claim that GPs know their patients best in light of the debate over the transfer of commissioning services. The survey found that:

  • 13% don’t visit the GP about their child’s general health issues
  • For those that do visit the GP with their child, the quality of care is inconsistent: On general health issues: 61% rated the service excellent or good, 10% rated it poor and 29% rated it fair. Meanwhile on disability issues 48% rated their GP service excellent or good, 24% rated it poor and 28% rated it fair
  • A quarter said that their GP has no understanding at all of their child’s condition or disability
  • Almost three quarters (73%) say that their GP never offers them support in their role as a carer

Srabani Sen, chief executive of Contact a Family said: “GPs are often providing a good service to families on general health matters. But overwhelmingly families with disabled children say GPs have little involvement in their child’s condition or disability. “If Government proposals to give GPs control over commissioning go ahead, how are they going to plan for disabled children, who are often highly dependent on health services, when the majority have no involvement in their care? “GPs need a clear understanding of local needs and patients if they are to commission services as part of the NHS reforms. We would like to see assurances that parents with disabled children will be involved in GP commissioning consortia, so that they can input their expertise.”

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