by Michelle Taylor

Hi my name is Michelle Taylor and my new role here at LD:NorthEast is Health and Well-being Coach / Service Lead for our new Healthy Tomorrows Service, which is funded by the Primary Care Network for the North West and North Shields area of North Tyneside. Many people will know me from LD:NorthEast Tomorrows Project where I have been a Case Worker for the last 6 years.

The Healthy Tomorrows Service is very important to us because as an organisation we’ve always been passionate about reducing the inequalities and challenges faced by people with learning disabilities when accessing healthcare.

My role as Health and Wellbeing Coach helps people who have a learning disability to set their own achievable health goals and targets. I encourage and motivate people to make healthier choices, and tailor information and plans to meet people’s needs, ability and understanding.

Within the team I work alongside two Care Co-ordinators, Lesley Winter and Mandy Mileham-Harding. Our Care Co-ordinators help people access their annual health checks supporting people to arrange and attend these appointments. We know there can be barriers that prevent people from accessing healthcare, some of which include fear and anxiety, and a lack of accessible information or reasonable adjustments.

Our Care Co-ordinators are there to support any patient registered at a practice who has a learning disability and they have hit the ground running, supporting many patients to attend their annual health checks. We always have a warm, friendly approach and have supported some extremely anxious people into the surgery to meet with their GP or nurse.

It has been an extremely difficult time due to the Covid pandemic and lockdown and many people’s health has been affected by this. As the Covid vaccination has been rolled out across North Tyneside most have us have felt a sense of relief, however this is not the case for everyone. Many of the people we support have been shielding for a long time, and as a result they feel very anxious about going outside into the world again. After all we have been told for so long now to stay at home.

In preparation of the Covid vaccination being given to people who have a diagnosis of a learning disability / autism we have worked with the 14 GP practices within the North Shields and North West of North Tyneside Primary Care Network, offering our expertise and guidance.

We have made many telephone calls to patients to talk through their concerns and worries, and reduce their anxieties prior to people attending their appointment. We have been physically present on the day of vaccination to offer additional support and ensure reasonable adjustments needed are communicated to the clinic and carried out. We have also provided easy read information to those who require it, both in preparation of the appointment and after.

It has been a real privilege to be a part of the vaccination roll out and lovely to see so many people receive their much needed vaccine. We have also had great feedback from patients, carers and support staff along the way. LD:NorthEast are passionate about supporting people who have a learning disability to access the same quality of healthcare as everyone else, and we are here to support you.

We are looking forward to meeting and supporting lots more patients over the next few months to improve their access to healthcare and help them feel confident about looking after their own health and wellbeing. If you’d like to know more about our new service then please contact me at