HealthFirst Liverpool Health Champions Course – Annual Health Checks and Opticians

On Tuesday 12th January the HealthFirst Liverpool Group had it’s 2nd Health Champions session that is being facilitated by Vivien Mansfield who is a Learning Disability Healthcare Facilitator for Mersey Care.

These courses are important as it means that:

  • We learn more about our health and how to make positive changes in our lives
  • We will go out and tell other people with learning disabilities about what we have learned
  • We can speak up to health professionals about how we find our health experiences and what things are good or not so good in Liverpool – this will help to make things better for everyone

Vivien welcomed everyone and explained that this is the 2nd session of our Healthy Living Course for people with learning disabilities.

We began the session by watching the “Confidential Inquiry Into Premature Deaths of people with Learning Disabilities (CIPOLD)”.

Some people found it really upsetting that people with learning disabilities do not get treated the same way as people without learning disabilities.

We watched the Annual Health Check DVD and gave everyone a copy for themselves.

We need to make sure that everyone with a learning disability has an annual health check.

Viv told us that some people do not want the GP to know they have a learning disability. It is important that the GP knows as

  • They can give you a longer appointment
  • Give you information in easy read
  • Do it at times that might suit you better
  • Do it on days when you get support
  • Make reasonable adjustments that can help you

Viv showed us the “pre health check questionnaire”. It is important that we fill it in as sometimes when we go to the doctors we forget everything we wanted to say.

The pre-health check questionnaire asks questions about:

  • How much we weigh
  • How tall we are
  • What conditions we have
  • Do any of our family have any health conditions
  • Our medication
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing
  • Teeth
  • Eyes
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Exercise
  • What we eat
  • Men’s health
  • Women’s health
  • Our mental health
  • Sleeping
  • Our mobility – how we get around
  • Our Thyroid function
  • Going to the toilet

Why does it ask so many questions?

The reason is that to help you best your GP needs to know as much as possible about you.

It is important that we tell the truth too. Sometimes you feel like you should tell the doctor or nurse what you think they want to hear – they will not judge you. If you do not eat a healthy diet they can help you and refer you to a dietician. Or if you feel low they can refer you to a counsellor or someone to help you.

We then looked at the Health Passport. This is a really important document as it tells health professionals

  • Things you MUST know about me
  • Things that are important to me
  • Things I like and dislike

Colin and Ruth from Nightingale Opticians had come along to talk to us and answer our questions.

Vivien explained that Colin and Ruth are very good at working with people with a learning disability and they keep a list to remind you when you need an eye test.

Colin told us that people with learning disabilities are 6 times more likely to have problems with their eyes.

Colin told us that it is important we get our eyes checked every 2 years. Or if we have diabetes we need to get our eyes checked every year.

Colin and Ruth do appointments that suit the individual they can:

  • Come to your house with all their equipment
  • The use letters and pictures
  • They can do repeat visits if you are nervous and they can’t finish the eye test they will come back again
  • They will work with you to build up your confidence
  • Just by looking in your eyes they can tell if you have other health conditions i.e. diabetes it is very important to have your eyes tested

Who is entitled to a free eye test?

  • People with a family history of glaucoma and who are over 40
  • People with diabetes
  • People on income support
  • People on ESA

Sarah asked “Why do they blow in your eyes when you go for your eye test?”

Everyone who has had that eye test said that they didn’t really like the blowing air in their eyes part.

Colin said “That is a really good question, they are testing for glaucoma, but we have a machine that tests for that and it doesn’t blow in your eyes as we want to make the eye test as comfortable for people as possible.”

Colin and Ruth told us that you need to make sure you buy glasses that fit well and all of the glasses Nightingales make are made for the individual. They bring the choice of frames to you too.

The most important thing to remember is that if you spot something early it is treatable and you must get your eye sight checked. Sometimes you do not notice any changes in your eyes as it can be so gradual but you still must go and get your eyes tested.

You need to know your own body and be aware of changes.


  •  I thought the DVD was interesting about the annual health checks because no one has said that you need a health check.
  • Please thank Ruth and Colin for coming along.
  • Interesting, enjoyable, informative.
  • Very good.
  • The annual health check film was brilliant and I know and understand what to expect when I go for an annual health check
  • The CIPOLD DVD was said to watch but it was good, we don’t know how lucky we are
  • Interactive
  • Great session would be a great benefit to support workers
  • It was a good session I’ve learned a lot from it.IMG_7632 IMG_7630 IMG_7637 IMG_7671 annual healthcheck IMG_7625 IMG_7626 IMG_7636


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