User Friendly? Reviewing communication support at GP Practices in Redbridge
For many people with communication impairments going to see the doctor can sometimes have additional problems. Not hearing your name being called, having no access to a BSL Interpreter or relying on a family member to support you, can be a frightening experience.
Over the past two years, Healthwatch Redbridge has been reviewing the development and implementation of the Accessible Information Standard (AIS). The standard is the new legal requirement that applies to all providers of NHS and publicly-funded adult social care services and came into force on 31 July 2016. It is supported by the Equalities Act, and advises organisations how they should work to understand and support patients’ communication needs. This includes making sure that people get information in accessible formats such as large print, Braille, easy read and via email.
Between July and December 2018, Healthwatch Redbridge visited and assessed and reported on each GP practice against the requirements of the standard.
Today (22 March 2018), sees the launch of a comprehensive summary review of all the practices in our report ‘User Friendly? Reviewing communication support at GP Surgeries in Redbridge’.
Cathy Turland, Healthwatch Redbridge Chief Executive Officer said:
‘We’ve been reviewing the standard over the last two years to see whether the implementation has had an impact on people’s lives.’
‘We have spoken with people who are directly affected by communication impairments. They have told us of the barriers a lack of support can have. We heard from people who did not understand their medication or appointment information as they could not read the information as it was too small print/not in easy read/not available in audio.’
‘Some parents with hearing impairments told us they have felt embarrassed having to ask their children to support them by providing BSL (Sign Language) interpretation.’
‘Some people with Learning Disabilities have had to bring their parents to appointments to support them in accessing services such as sexual health advice.’
‘We also heard from practices who are doing some fantastic and innovative work in supporting patients to access their services. Three practices purchased hearing loops after receiving our report and a number of practices are reviewing their websites and written information to make them more accessible; which I think is really positive.’
The report highlights recommendations that HWR have suggested to the surgeries. We are fully committed to working with the surgeries to improve communication support in Redbridge.
A video summary of the report can be found here
You can download the report from below