If you had learning difficulties, how easy would it be to attend a hospital appointment in East Kent?

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Kent wanted to see for ourselves how someone with communication difficulties would experience an NHS Hospital appointment. Working in partnership with East Kent Mencap, Healthwatch Kent visited all three hospitals in East Kent (William Harvey, Kent & Canterbury and QEQM). In summary the findings informed information has been developed by the Trust, but the majority of staff that Healthwatch Kent spoke to were not aware of it, so it is not provided to patients. Not all relevant information is suitable for people with learning difficulties. The Trust’s website is not fully accessible. Healthwatch Kent only met one staff member who was aware of the Trust’s Communication booklet. At the time of our visit, Deaf patients had no way to contact the hospitals about their Outpatients appointments. The only option was on the phone. Healthwatch Kent now understand that the Trust has purchased Video Remote Interpreting and a Video Relay Service. VRS will enable d/Deaf users to contact the Trust via a link on their website. There are areas of the Accessible Information Standard that East Kent University Hospitals Trust is failing to meet. Healthwatch Kent have raised several issues relating to the buildings. The buildings are owned and managed by the Estates Department within East Kent Hospitals Trust, so a separate section relating to these issues has been put in. Recommendations within the report refer to staff training, communication, audit of poster/banners, video interpreting and information on website should be improved.

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General details

Report title 
If you had learning difficulties, how easy would it be to attend a hospital appointment in East Kent?
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Kent
Date of publication 
Friday, 11 May, 2018
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 11 May, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 11 May, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Building and facilities
Communication between staff and patients
Health promotion
Information providing
Public involvement
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Acute services with overnight beds
Acute services without overnight beds / listed acute services with or without overnight beds

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not known
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.