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'More help needed' to make patient info accessible

People with disabilities must be helped more by health providers to access information, a report has found.

Over 300 people in North Yorkshire were asked about communication from GPs, hospitals, and healthcare providers in a survey by watchdog Healthwatch.

The report said there is "some good practice" but many patients are not being contacted in their preferred format. This leads to missed appointments which "costs time and money".

Since 2016, the Accessible Information Standard means health and care organisations must legally provide a "consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing, and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment, or sensory loss," Healthwatch said.

But the report said some people receive printed letters which they are unable to read meaning they have to ask for private and confidential information to be relayed.

Scarborough respondent Ian said it was "amazing" that in the 21st Century many are still facing such issues.

"The [GP booking] system doesn't anticipate that not everyone can use the phone," he said.

"The problem is a lot of organisations haven't moved with the times".

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Source: BBC News, 21 June 2022


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