The learning disability charity Mencap has created new GP resources to support people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds when accessing healthcare services.
The resources come as data reveals that just 276,365 people are on the GP Learning Disability Register out of an estimated 1.2 million people in England with a learning disability (equating to less than a quarter).
The resources, which are now available in 10 different languages, raise awareness of the benefits of the register and encourage underrepresented communities (like those from minority ethnic groups) to sign up.
It also informs people with learning disabilities and their families/carers about the reasonable adjustments they are entitled to ask for during GP or hospital appointments.
Reducing health inequalities
Edel Harris OBE, Chief Executive of Mencap, says she hopes the new resources will help to reduce health inequalities and make it easier for people from ethnic minority backgrounds to access healthcare.
She said: “It’s long been known that people with a learning disability often face huge inequalities when accessing healthcare, especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds. These new resources can help make a huge difference and guide people with a learning disability, their families and carers to understand the care and support they are entitled to.
“Mencap will keep campaigning until people with a learning disability report a significant improvement in the advice, information and support they are given – and until people with a learning disability have equality in accessing healthcare to help them live happy and healthy lives.”
The resources will be a “lifeline” to many whose first language isn’t English
The resources were developed in partnership with four different advocacy groups: Bradford People First, Grace Eyre based in Hove, Midland Mencap and Rochdale Gateway Leisure.
Ismail Kaji, who has a learning disability and is Parliamentary and Government Engagement Officer at Mencap, said: “As someone from an ethnic minority background, these resources will be a lifeline to many people with a learning disability and their families whose first language isn’t English.
“It’s important that people with a learning disability join their GPs Learning Disability Register if they haven’t already. It helps the GP surgery know which patients need extra support because of their learning disability; this can include annual health checks and any reasonable adjustments needed. People with a learning disability deserve to access the same care and support as anyone else.”