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Estimated prevalence of people with learning disabilities: template for general practice

By V. Allgar, G. Mir, J. Evans, J. Marshall, D. Cottrell, P. Heywood and E. Emerson


BACKGROUND\ud In 2001, a white paper set out a commitment to ensure that people with a learning disability receive equal access to health services, with an expectation that general practices would have identified all people with a learning disability registered with the practice by June 2004.\ud \ud AIM\ud To outline the development of a template to create practice-based registers of people with learning disabilities in general practice. \ud \ud DESIGN OF STUDY\ud The study was prospective, employing a template to identify patients in general practice with a learning disability. The study used capture-recapture methodology to estimate the prevalence of learning disability in the population.\ud \ud SETTING\ud General practices in Leeds.\ud \ud METHOD\ud A template was developed that uses Read code searches of practices' electronic medical records, along with practice knowledge to identify patients who have a learning disability. \ud \ud RESULTS\ud The tool was piloted in 30 general practices in Leeds and validated against a city-wide database of people with learning disability. There was a wide variation between the practices in terms of how many people were identified, with the average being 0.4% of the practice population. Combined with validation from the city-wide database, this increased to 0.7%.\ud \ud CONCLUSION\ud The template provides a valuable tool for general practices to begin developing a practice-based register of patients with a learning disability. This is particularly timely in view of the revised General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework indicator, stimulating practices to produce a register of patients with learning disability. Use of a common definition for learning disability is needed to improve consistency in identification across practice

Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
Year: 2008
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