For a three month period, we focused our engagement activity on people with Learning Disabilities, and in particular their experience of ‘accessing’ health services.
In order to enable a diverse range of people to share their views and concerns about their local health and social care services, Healthwatch Derbyshire aim to pay specific attention to those who struggle to be heard.
By law, under the Equality Act 2010, all health services are required to make reasonable adjustments to make sure they are accessible to all. This duty requires organisations and services to anticipate the needs of disabled people and, where possible, make adjustments to provide the same level of service as for non-disabled patients.
The adjustments have to be made if it is reasonable to do so. This depends on such things as how practicable the changes are; the size of the organisation; if the change would overcome the disadvantage disabled peoples’ experience and the cost of making the changes.
There are three different things organisations may need to do to make it easier for people to access or receive services. This includes changing the way things are done (e.g. allowing longer appointment time at the GP/dentist); changing a physical feature (e.g. installing a ramp or widening doors) or provide an extra aide or service (e.g. provide hearing induction loop or information in large print, braille or providing a BSL translator).
Hence, the onus is on the service to remove or reduce factors which may mean that people with Learning Disabilities do not receive health services which are as good as other people. The comments given during this engagement activity give useful first-hand feedback from participants with a Learning Disability about how it feels to access and use health services, and incudes their ideas as to what could be better. Some comments were also received from friends, carers and professionals.
Access to Health Services for People with Learning Disabilities – Patient Experience Report
Update on Actions from Learning Disabilities Patient Experience Report