What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people.

The level of support someone needs depends on the individual.

Accessible Information Standard

In 2016 NHS England published the ‘accessible information standard’. The documents set out what health and social care organisations have to do to make sure that anyone with a disability or sensory loss can get the information they want in a way that they can understand or get the help they need with communication.

NHS England: Making health and social care information accessible

Dorset’s Big Plan

Dorset’s ‘Big Plan’ sets out how the Local Authorities and Dorset CCG will work together to make services better for those with learning disabilities. We want everyone with a learning disability to:

• be treated with dignity and respect;

• have choices and rights and be responsible for their lives;

• have access to services who make sure that people with learning disabilities, and their families, are at the centre of everything they do.

LD Annual Health Checks

The Annual Health Check aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities, as they often have difficulty in recognising illness, communicating their needs and using health services.

If you are over 14 years old, have a learning disability and are on the learning disability register you should have an annual health check.


Getting a health check with your doctor will help to keep you healthy.

All parts of the Annual Health Check are voluntary. You need to give your consent before anything happens.

At the end of the health check the doctor or nurse will give you a Health Action Plan to help you stay well.

Keep the Health Action Plan in a safe place and bring the Health Action Plan with you to your next health check.

Don’t Miss Out

If you have a learning disability you can get extra support when visiting your Doctor.  All you have to do is add your name to the Learning Disability Register.

Care and Treatment Reviews

There are two versions of the Care and Treatment Review. One is for adults and is known as the Care and Treatment Review (CTR) and the other is for children and young people and is called a Care, Education and Treatment Review (CETR).

A CTR/CETR is a meeting to check that a person’s care and treatment is meeting their needs.

A CTR/CETR may be held for anyone with learning disabilities, autism or both who may be at risk of being admitted to hospital or who is already in a specialist learning disability or mental health hospital.

These are in place to make sure that people get the right care at the right time and are not admitted to hospital unnecessarily.

Education, Health and Care Plans

As part of the Children’s Act 2014, education, health and social care services must all work together if that helps them to do better for children and young people with special educational needs or a disability.

The ‘Education, Health and Care Plan’ (EHCP), replaces the ‘Statement’ children and young people used to be given. The new plan sets out what is needed, but also shows what the child or young person should be able to achieve if given the right support.

To help support the young person an EHC plan can continue until they are 25 if the council thinks this is appropriate and the support is needed.


To make sure the right support is given the young person or their parents/carers can ask the local council to provide them with a personal budget, which allows them to have a real say in the support they receive. If the budget is left with the council, the young person or parents/carers can still decide on how the money is being spent.

NHS: What is a personal health budget?

There has been a target set to ensure that all ‘statements’ are transferred to EHC plans and that children and young people get the support they require.

Experts by Experience

Quality Checkers are experts by experience because they are people who use services or parents/carers of service users.

The Quality Checkers speak to people (and staff) in residential homes (and other settings) and then write a report.

They send the report to commissioners so that we know what is working well, what’s not working so well and what needs to change.

The Quality Checkers advise providers about things that can improve so people have a better experience.

How to contact us

Laura White

Programme Lead for Learning Disabilities & Autism

Email:  laura.white@dorsetccg.nhs.uk

For Care (Education) and Treatment Reviews, please email;  ctr@dorsetccg.nhs.uk

Useful links