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Your spotlight on local services

Access For All

 Working in partnership with local Healthwatches 

13 Local Healthwatch and the British Deaf Association (BDA) across North, Central and East London have been working together for the last year to improve access for disabled patients across NHS trusts. This has been delivered by addressing deaf inclusion in our work and increasing the involvement of London’s deaf community in the improvement of health and social care services in the capital.

The award winning Deaf Inclusion Project has identified and trained 17 deaf volunteers to be Authorised Representatives and Mystery Shoppers. They have conducted visits on 3 Emergency Departments that has led to increased awareness amongst NHS professionals on access issues and led to the trusts changing practice to increase access for deaf patients.

Through a conference in May 2015 attended by 68 representatives from NHS Trusts, CCGs, local authorities, voluntary sector providers and members of the deaf community; the project also raised awareness of the barriers faced by deaf patients and service users. As a direct result of the conference the following outcomes were achieved: -

- Barts Health NHS Trust requested a full transcript of the conference, as Whipps Cross Hospital was identified by deaf delegates as having very poor deaf access. This is being fed into the hospital’s improvement plan.

- Redbridge Council have approached Healthwatch Redbridge for assistance in improving deaf access.

- University College Hospital is using the Enter and View Report to feed into the rebuild of the Emergency Department to improve deaf access.

- Haringey Council have engaged the deaf volunteers to help improve access and use their stories and experiences for staff training and development.

Short films were also produced as part of the project. One identifies and explores good practice in deaf access for NHS trusts and local authorities. This has now been circulated to the appropriate agencies across the HENCEL area to improve practice and continuing professional development of staff. Other films have included: -

(i)     How to make a complaint

(ii)    What is Enter and View

(iii)   What is Mystery Shopping

(iv)   Volunteering for Healthwatch

(v)   Good Practice in the NHS and Local Authorities

(vi) An Enter and View report of three local hospitals

We now want to develop the project further; broaden its focus to improve access for disabled people to NHS services. The emphasis will be on supporting NHS trusts to implement the NHS England Accessible Information Standard, The Equality Delivery System (EDS2) and the two Vanguard Sites. We will recruit and train more disabled people to help NHS and social transformation and improvement. 

The NHS have produced a short video on the 'top tips for communicating with deaf patients' which can be found here

For all of the Access for all and Deaf Inclusion Enter and View Reports. Please click here

For year a summary of year two of the project, please click here