Flagging patients' needs in medical records 

Our feedback from Grass Roots insight highlighted the poor experiences encountered by people with accessible information needs in using health services.

Some experiences included:

  • appointment letters sent to people with visual impairments,
  • translators for language or British Sign Language (BSL) not being arranged at clinics, 
  • information not provided in a way that can be used.

What we did

A project steering group was set up to address this need which included four GP practices from Bradford City and Bradford Districts CCGs, CCG staff and patient groups. The group identified a way of flagging disabled patients’ access needs in SystmOne, the patient record system used by local GP practices.

In a move welcomed by GP practice staff, members of the strategic disability partnership and patient groups visited the four GP practices to deliver accessibility training.

In addition, practice software has been updated and a questionnaire, developed by patients, acts as a guide for practice staff when talking to patients about their access needs and what reasonable support is needed. The questionnaire will be used again to identify patients’ more recent experiences. The practices will supply action plans to NHS England to ensure they are ready to comply with new national accessible information standards which come into force in July 2016.

We shared this project with NHS England as a key way for practices and CCGs to ensure they are meeting the new standards. Following a move to SystmOne by the local authority, a joint working group has been set up with them and local NHS trusts. We will share the results of this pilot widely, with recommendations for rolling out to more of our member practices. 

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