A SOCIAL enterprise has considered paying for private health checks for people with learning disabilities due to Thurrock’s stubbornly low figures on the NHS.
According to the latest data, fewer than 40 per cent of people in the borough with learning disabilities – about 5,000 people - have had their annual health checks, which are funded by NHS England due to those with learning disabilities often allowing serious health problems to go undetected.
According to the NHS website, adults with learning disabilities known to social services and who are registered with a GP who knows their medical history, should be invited by the practice for an annual health check.
But Neil Woodbridge, chief executive of Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions, said the company’s frustration with GPs and the council had even led them to consider paying for private consultations themselves.
He said: “We’ve considered getting some cash together and paying for it privately, which we estimated would cost about £20,000, because there are only so many funerals you can go to.
“Studies show that people with learning disabilities die about 12 years earlier than most people, not because of anything to do with their condition, but because of poor health care.
“If Peterborough can have a 95 per cent success rate with annual health checks, why can’t Thurrock?”
Polly Billington, parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, said: “It is embarrassing for Thurrock to have such terrible statistics, so I am determined to help Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions CIC and Thurrock Healthwatch in their campaign to ensure disabled and vulnerable people in our community get the healthcare that is theirs by right."
Ian Ross, of NHS England, said Thurrock’s figures were “simply not acceptable,” adding his team would be doing everything it could to bring them to the national target of 70 per cent and beyond.