DoH misses target for registering people with learning difficulties on GP lists

    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.

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