Allgar, Victoria, Mir, Ghazala, Evans, Joyce, Marshall, Joyce, Cottrell, David, Heywood, Phil and Emerson, Eric (2008) Estimated prevalence of people with learning disabilities: template for general practice. British Journal of General Practice, 58 (551). pp. 423-428. ISSN 0960-1643

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.
To outline the development of a template to create
practice-based registers of people with learning
disabilities in general practice.
Design of study
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.
General practices in Leeds.
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.
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%.
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 practices.

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