There is a pressing need to address health inequalities and improve health outcomes for people with Down’s syndrome across Scotland. That need became even more acute as people with Down’s syndrome were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping healthy is important for everyone, but for many unacceptable reasons, people with Down’s syndrome can have poorer health outcomes than others. Despite the fact that we have made some progress in recent years, people with a learning disability still have a life expectancy 28 years lower than the general population and we now know that children and young people with learning disabilities are at a much higher risk of premature death when compared to the general population. In many of these instances, it is also clear that many deaths are preventable and avoidable.
Having a regular health check, annually, is one possible way of getting in front of this shameful statistic and we were pleased to support the Scottish Government’s announcement in 2022 that Annual Health Checks will now be introduced for everyone with a learning disability (age 16 and over) in Scotland, and this of course includes people with Down’s syndrome.
We surveyed our members about their healthcare experiences and we found that people with Down’s syndrome and their parents wanted more information about health conditions and weren’t always aware of recommended health checks.
We want clinicians, health professionals, GPs and everyone involved in promoting good health outcomes to #TakeAStepForward with us and take all reasonable steps to identify individuals over 16 with Down's syndrome and offer them an annual health check by Spring 2024.
We also want everyone involved in sport, recreation, leisure, the arts and culture to consider what role they can play in supporting our community to become more active, more involved, more often.
Get in touch at email@example.com to discuss how you can get involved.