Access to Health and Social Care Services as experienced by people with a Sensory ImpairmentDownload (PDF 337KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees undertook research about the experience of people with sensory impairments of health and social care. They engaged with a total of 35 members of the community, 10 of which had a hearing impairment, 22 who had a sight impairment and three people who had both a hearing and sight impairment.
Some felt that the Ophthalmology department of the local hospital carries out vision tests every time they had an appointment. They suggested that It was suggested that a simple ‘colour coding’ system could be used whereby. Some attendees also raised concerns that they are regularly being requested to attend diabetic retinopathy screening when this is not required, even though they have tried to tell the service about this.
Concerns were raised about the accessibility self-service check-in screens at GP surgeries for people with a visual impairment. People also commented on the accessibility of GP surgery waiting rooms and appointment booking systems. Most GP practices now have online appointment booking systems which are available for people with a hearing impairment., but many of the people spoken to don’t have access to a computer.
Healthwatch gathered a lot of positive feedback about access to dentists by those with a sensory impairment.
In relation to social care for people with a visual impairment, the consensus was that Stockton-on-Tees Adult Social Care Services are very responsive, particularly in relation to providing adaptations to homes. In contrast people with hearing impairments experienced problems contacting social services.
Service users with visual impairments received information about appointments in a variety of ways, but none had ever been asked which they preferred. People with hearing impairments found text messages to be the best way of communicating. They found it difficult to change appointment times, as they had to ring to do so.
People were concerned that they were picked up very early by the Patient Transport Service to go to their appointment. Despite this, the feedback about the Patient Transport Service was positive.
People who needed to book a BSL interpreter for appointments experienced problems, including interpreters not turning up and the variable quality of interpreters. People with hearing impairments had problems with booking emergency GP appointments due to the need to book an interpreter well in advance.
There were eight detailed recommendations about different aspects of making health and social care accessible for people with sensory impairments.