Access improvements made by the people that matter - LOCAL PATIENTS

We teamed up with local charity the Hive and assembled a team of six people with learning disabilities to look at how access and services could be improved in a project called Hivewatch.
learning disabilities

We are highlighting this work to mark Day of Person’s with Disabilities, a United Nations-sanctioned day that is celebrated internationally. Healthwatch wants to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

Our work with the Hive involved carrying out Enter and View visits to a Minor injuries Unit, two GP surgeries, a Day Centre and an Accident and Emergency Department. The Hivewatch volunteers used a checklist to identify a list of changes and improvements that they thought would really benefit people with learning disabilities. Many of these recommendations have been incorporated into the Trust’s Learning Disabilities Improvement Group work plan.

Healthwatch was delighted with the providers’ responses to our visits, particularly the A&E department at North Bristol NHS Trust. A total of 11 recommendations were made following this visit. One of these was about facilities to put people at ease. Volunteers were assured that a quiet, private space could be made available if required, however, there were no notices to explain to patients that this facility was available. Another recommendation was to make hospital volunteers available at the Emergency Department waiting area to assist people with a disability. A further request was that training involving people with learning disabilities should be made available and mandatory for all staff, wherever they work.

Hivewatch volunteers also wanted to make sure that points of consideration that they found from their visits were shared, in particular, to promote people’s rights when accessing health and care services. In partnership with The Hive, we ran two wellbeing events attended by 28 adults with learning disabilities. The events shared key findings from visits and practical info about ‘what good looks like’. All attendees went away with a pack of easy read information sharing ‘top tips’ when using services, and also what to do when things are not as good as they could be.

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