NHS should be more accessible

HEALTH bosses have today pledged to do much more to help people with learning difficulties get fairer access to healthcare in Suffolk.

HEALTH bosses have today pledged to do much more to help people with learning difficulties get fairer access to healthcare in Suffolk.

Currently thousands of people with learning difficulties and disabilities in the county can face serious problems when using mainstream health services.

According to experts many women are not screened for breast and cervical cancer and others are not treated properly by GPs or doctors.

But now NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust, has pledged to do more to tackle the problem including offering all people with learning difficulties an annual health check with a GP.


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Celia Scott-Molloy, from Suffolk Mental Health Partnership's Learning Disabilities Directorate, which is already working towards changing attitudes of NHS staff, said: “Some people have a really appalling service from the health service and we are aware of some really negative experiences.

“But we are working really hard to reduce inequalities and galvanise people to work together.

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“One thing we will be doing is offering people a health action plan which will have all people's health needs in one place.

“And just raising awareness is important too so we're doing a lot of work with providers of services.”

Meanwhile Linda Davey, manager at ACE, an advocacy service for people with learning disabilities or difficulties, said she welcomed the move to do more to tackle health inequalities.

She said: “We're very pleased something is being done. The sorts of problems were that people weren't routinely called for screening in the same way the rest of the community was for cervical screening and mammograms.

“Sometimes the health services focus on the disability and fail to look at the whole of the person because they have that disability.”

NHS Suffolk will now discuss in detail how to improve healthcare for people with learning difficulties at its board meeting on Wednesday.

Do you have a learning difficulty? What is your experience of healthcare in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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