Individual participation

Our CCG learns from patients in a variety of ways. One of the main ways that we do this is through our governing body hearing first-hand from patients and their families about their experiences of NHS services and how they can be improved.

Recently, our governing body have heard about experiences including;

  • the need for accessible information
  • how improvements for diabetes services are progressing,
  • the experience of women accessing community services,
  • the impact of isolation on health and mental health. 

You can read the patient experiences heard by our governing body in the governing body meeting minutes. These can all be found in our governing body papers

A recent example of one of the stories given to our governing body is below.


The need for accessible information

Samantha Allen, Tom Walsh, and Sue Crowe from Bradford Talking Media attended our governing body meeting in October 2015 to tell us about their experience of the need for accessible information. 

The CCG started with an update on the new Accessible Information Standard (which will be implemented in July 2016 by NHS England). This has been developed to ensure people who have a disability or sensory loss receives the right information in the correct format. Bradford Districts CCG has been overseeing a pilot on flagging patients’ access needs in primary care and in September an event was held in Bradford to look at what the standard means for local people. An awareness campaign is also planned by Healthwatch and Care Quality Commission to encourage people to give their views. 

Samantha Allen was born deaf, she has lived in Bradford all her life and her first language is British Sign Language (BSL). She shared her experiences with the governing body via her sign interpreter, Alex. Samantha raised the following key points: 

  • there is now touch screen arrival installed in her GP surgery to check in, which makes it much easier than talking directly with a receptionist. 
  • her GP surgery now also has a digital display board which displays a patient's name, it has alleviated a lot os stress as she no longer needs to ask for assistance whilst waiting for her appointment. This would be a useful tool to have in all hospitals (although it does not completely remove all issues with a frontline reception desk).
  • some hospitals now offer a ticket number system where you take a ticket with a number and when the number flashes on screen you go through to the allocated room. This again is a good system to reduce the anxiety of having your name called.
  • GP appointments can only be booked 1-2 weeks in advance to accommodate those who need an interpreter. This is not always appropriate when a GP appointment is needed urgently. Confidentiality becomes an issue when deaf or hard of hearing patients have to have an interpreter, especially if the appointment concerns highly sensitive issues.
  • home visits are usually booked to schedule an interpreter to attend at the same time, however on some occasions the nurse has not attended or arrived late and the interpreter has needed to wait or leave for another appointment. It would have benefited both parties if the nurse was aware that a BSL interpreter would also be present.
  • asking members of staff to be aware when talking to a deaf or hard of hearing patient, not to shout or use exaggerated lip patterns which makes lip reading almost impossible.
  • more work is needed around discussing the options available for babies born with hearing loss.

Sam added that hopefully the new flagging system will help reduce some of the issues raised and staff will be informed of the patients’ access requirements, bearing in mind that not all deaf people have the same access needs. 

Tom Walsh is a wheelchair user with a learning disability who is passionate about access. Tom has also worked as part of a team on other subjects including heart disease, living with dying, sexual health, diabetes and making accessible information. Tom also gave feedback to the governing body. Tom raised the following key points:

  • information given by a GP or hospital is usually not in easy read and uses long words and medical terms. Very often the size of the text is too small and not bold enough for him to read. Appointment letters and information about his treatment should be in this format with simple words and pictures but it should not be made to sound childish.
  • Tom gave an example of a letter he had received from his dental practice, which stated that he was due a dental check-up and that it was important that he keeps his teeth healthy. He felt that this was very patronising, and that he was being treated like a child. This was rectified by the dental surgery once they were aware of the problem.
  • Tom has received good experiences from Airedale Hospital where he was scheduled for an endoscopy. He noted that even though the leaflet was not in Easyread it was clear and to the point, with a larger font which made this easier to read.
  • When Easyread information is available Tom doesn’t need to ask for assistance. This is necessary when it is personal and he doesn’t want anyone else to know.
  • accessible information needs to be rolled out across the whole of the care pathway, from appointment letter to information about the treatment and finally any further information needed post treatment.
  • Tom also raised the need for healthcare professionals to know he has a learning disability before speaking to him so that they will be more understanding. He feels this is really important so disabled patients can manage their own lives.

Our governing body then responded to Sam and Tom:

  • would they would be happy if the flagging information could be shared with other organisations i.e. social care organisations/voluntary community sectors. Sam and Tom both agreed this would be a good idea, with Tom noting that he wouldn’t have to keep repeating himself if this was available.
  • agreement with Tom that Easyread should be as ‘standard’ within every organisation.

 The outcomes were that the governing body:

  • note the introduction of the accessible information standard and the requirements of the standard on the CCG as a commissioner and on member practices,
  • note the good practice already ongoing in Bradford Districts,
  • support the development of our implementation plan and ongoing approach to full implementation in July 2016.

You can read the full story in the meeting minutes, which can be found here

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