For Families and Carers : Annual Health Checks

Health Book Cover

For people with Down’s syndrome and their parents / carers

Until 2014 only people with Down’s syndrome over 18 years old could ask their GP for a free annual health check. Now the rules have changed and anyone over the age of 14 years old can have a free annual health check with their GP.

All of our members who are over 18 years old are sent a free copy of our Health Book to use at their annual health check. From this year (2015) we will send a free copy of the Health Book to all of our members who are aged between 14 and 17 years.


You can download the following here:

  • a complete copy or individual pages
  • letter for a DSA Member 14-17 years old
  • letter for a DSA Member 18+ years old
  • letter for your GP
  • checklist of things should be included as part of a comprehensive and thorough Annual Health Check.

My Health Book Film

Watch this short film to see members of one of our Having a Voice groups talk about how they keep healthy and use their Health Books.

For GPs

This information is for GPs and is to be used alongside the Health Book.

Checklist: Download this checklist of things should be included as part of a comprehensive and thorough Annual Health Check.

The following information can be viewed online or downloaded and printed from the PDF.

Adult Cardiac Disease Diabetes Hypertension
Alzheimer’s Disease Ear and Hearing Issues Orthopaedic Problems
Cervical Spine Problems Epilepsy Recurrent Respiratory Tract Infections
Continence Problems Eye Conditions Sleep Problems
Dental Gastrointestinal Disorders Thyroid Dysfunction
Depression Hypercholesterolaemial Vitamin B12 Deficiency

We would like to carry out an evaluation of the DSA health book launched in March 2014. The development of the DSA health book for adults was as a direct consequence of a survey of DSA members in 2010 to find out about their experiences of adult annual health checks. The results showed that uptake of the checks were patchy, with some members and those who supported them, being unaware of their existence.

As a consequence of the survey the DSA developed an adult health book with the aim of improving the uptake and quality of annual health checks for adults with Down’s syndrome. A pilot held in 2013 found the majority of participants considered the health book easy to use, liked the format and appreciated that it would enable all of the relevant information about their health to be kept in one place. In several instances GPs reported the health book helped them to identify previously undiagnosed health conditions.

The DSA launched their health book in March 2014 and a copy was sent to all adult members. This was later extended to members between the ages of 14 and 18. The DSA also produced an area on its website specifically for GPs to be used in conjunction with the health book. Here clear up-to-date information can be accessed on various health conditions associated with people who have Down’s syndrome.

Since 2014 the DSA has continued to seek feedback and make adjustments to the health book but now want to carry out a more detailed evaluation of the resource. We want to make sure it remains relevant to people with Down’s syndrome, GPs, families and support workers.  We would really appreciate your help in completing this very short on-line survey. Link to survey

Other Resources

Each year we target a particular aspect of living with Down’s syndrome and in 2014 we campaigned for Awareness Week 2014: Better health care for adults with Down’s syndrome.

Health Series: This series published in October 2013 covers a range of health and medical conditions written for parents and carers. The authors are professionals and specialists within each field. The DSA answers questions on a range of medical conditions and the titles in this series reflect those most commonly asked about.

Health Book Project Evaluation

A copy of the Health Book Project Evaluation April 2016 can be downloaded here.

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