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Rugby star helping to tackle health inequalities

21 Jun 17 - 21 Jun 18

A former England and British Lions rugby player will help launch a new strategy which aims to tackle health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities.

Tim Stimpson will attend the launch of the strategy from North Essex Specialist Adult Learning Disability Services, part of HPFT, called Health – Everyone’s Responsibility.

The event at Witham Leisure Centre on 29 June from 11am to 3pm follows Learning Disability Awareness Week (19 to 25 June). There will be sport activities for people with learning disabilities and Tim will take part in a walking rugby session. There will also be stalls and information from local organisations.

The launch is being organised in conjunction with Sport for Confidence, which delivers a range of services and interventions which champion, promote and facilitate a more inclusive sport and leisure landscape for adults and young people with learning disabilities.

It is estimated that 49 per cent of deaths of people with learning disabilities could be avoided through better healthcare or the person being supported to have a healthier lifestyle. On average, people with learning disabilities die between 16 and 20 years earlier than the rest of the population.

Annual physical health checks have been the main way to identify health conditions in people with learning disabilities. However, the uptake nationally is very poor. Partly this is because people with learning disabilities are not aware they are entitled to a free annual check from their GP or have problems in accessing mainstream health services.

If you know someone with a learning disability, ask if they have had their annual check. If they have not, support them to book one.

North Essex Specialist Adult Learning Disability Services is working with three clinical commissioning groups to support local GP surgeries to have a better understanding of how to support people with learning disabilities access services.

Lisa Dexter, community learning disability team leader with North Essex Specialist Adult Learning Disability Services, said the launch is just the start of a year of activity.

"Throughout the year there will be events for people with learning disabilities, primary care staff, care providers and family carers. We will also be linking with local learning disability hospital liaison nurses to work collaboratively to support people when they are in hospital, either as an outpatient or for inpatient stays. We believe that health is everyone’s responsibility and hope that this strategy will go some way in bringing together all the pieces of the jigsaw."

To find out more about the event, email jake@sportforconfidence.com

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