Funding of £2 million is to be shared between health boards in Scotland to deliver annual health checks for people with learning disabilities.
The initiative will aim to address health inequalities and ensure any issues are identified and treated as soon as possible.
The checks will be conducted in the local community, with funding expected to reach health boards next month.
Mental wellbeing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Unfortunately we know that people with learning disabilities can experience poorer health than the rest of the population.
“Evidence suggests that people in this group are twice as likely to die from preventable illness.
“This is clearly unacceptable and I hope these annual checks will help to address this and begin to reduce this health inequality.
“Health issues like respiratory disorders, diabetes and thyroid problems can become serious if picked up too late.
“But if they are detected and treated early, there’s a much better chance of a positive outcome and a good quality of life. That is where these annual health checks will be so valuable.”
Eddie McConnell, chief executive of Down’s Syndrome Scotland, said: “This is a really significant moment in the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families.
“The rollout of the annual health checks across Scotland has the potential to be a game-changer in improving the health outcomes for this community, who deserve equal access to good health.
“It is no exaggeration to say that a well-implemented annual health check could save lives.”
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