Summary of report content
Between July and October 2017, Healthwatch Redbridge assessed 45 GP practices in the area on how well they were meeting the requirements set out by the Accessible Information Standard (AIS). At this point, the AIS had been in force for almost three years, and it requires all NHS services to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss get information in a way they can easily access.
They found some practices were not meeting people’s communication needs. For example, only three websites were accessible to those with a sensory impairment, and more than half of the practices relied on family and carers to help communicate with patients.
Using our Enter & View powers, Healthwatch Redbridge made a number of recommendations to the GP practices so that visiting the doctor could be made easier. Each visit was documented and individual reports were published with each report providing information gathered through the visits by Healthwatch trained volunteers. Reports listed any recommendations from the visit and provided each practice with an opportunity to respond and tell Healthwatch Redbridge what they planned to do in order to enhance accessibility for people with communication impairments. Between June and August 2018, Healthwatch Redbridge revisited all GP practices to see what changes had been made since these initial visits.
Impact: they found a 12% increase in GP practices that now have their own website, which enables people to view additional information relating to the surgery. There was a 40% in GP surgeries that had a communications book. There was a 8% decrease in people who had to rely on other people to aid their communication when visiting the GP. Significantly more (35%) GP practices trained their staff members on communicating with people with communication impairments.