As an independent voice for the people of Derbyshire, Healthwatch Derbyshire is here to listen to the experiences of Derbyshire residents and give them a stronger say in influencing how local health and social care services are provided. We are currently finding out from local people with sensory impairments such as hearing and/or sight difficulties, whether the information available from health and social care services in the county are fit for purpose.
New accessible information standards came into effect in July 2016. The standard aims to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read or understand and with support so they can communicate effectively with health and social care services.
Healthwatch is gathering information about the experiences of people with sensory impairments using health and social care services. Further work will be done in the future to listen to people who have a learning disability, aphasia or a mental health condition which affects their ability to communicate.
In the first instance, our team has been finding out about people’s recent experiences of using health and social care services. This will help us to identify topical issues for further investigation and whether they feel the new accessible information standards are making a positive difference on their experience.
We have also been helping people to fill in a survey that is being conducted by NHS England to look at how the standard has been implemented to give a really comprehensive picture from Derbyshire.
And finally, we are making ‘mystery shop’ visits to see how some health and social care services have responded to the accessible information standards changes.
The results of this work will be shared with commissioners and providers of health and social care services in the county – flagging up any issues that we have found and making recommendations for further improvements.
We will also make the results of this and all the work we do public on our website.
In the meantime, if you are a member of your family have sensory impairments or additional communication needs, please do contact us to be involved in this important piece of work.