The government has failed to achieve its target of getting all
people with learning difficulties registered with a GP by June
2004, as set out in the Valuing People white paper,
writes Clare Jerrom.
A Department of Health spokesperson admitted that anecdotal
evidence had emerged showing some areas were experiencing problems
getting people with learning difficulties registered with a
“It is also unclear as to whether every GP has identified
everyone with a learning difficulty who are already registered with
them,” the spokesperson added.
Rob Greig, director of Valuing People, said some GPs claimed their
lists were full and declined to register people with learning
difficulties, because they often had greater demands because of
years of unaddressed health needs.
But, he warned that getting GPs to provide services would only work
effectively when the NHS realised people with learning difficulties
should be included in all mainstream healthcare services. Effective
systems for monitoring the healthcare of people with learning
difficulties were essential and these were currently not
Greig added that some specialist learning difficulty services had
inappropriately dealt with the general health needs of people with
learning difficulties which had resulted in primary care services
thinking they did not need to.
But Joan Scott, director of self-advocacy group Action Unlimited,
said it was worrying the target had not been met and urged the DoH
to take action.
The DoH spokesperson said it was currently monitoring how far the
Valuing People objectives had been met and would be looking at ways
of how to best achieve its goals.