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How is our work influencing life in Northern Ireland and delivering equality? Learn more about our policy, legal and research work.
 
 

Research & investigations

Health & Social Care

What you need to know

 

Health & Social Care
 


A formal investigation in 2008 into the accessibility of health information in Northern Ireland for people with a learning disability was updated in 2013
 
      
The 2008 investigation identified that some healthcare professionals did not adjust their communication style for people with a learning disability. Other barriers to effective communication included attitude and levels of awareness as well as a lack of familiarity of the needs of people with a learning disability by health professionals.

Waiting times for an appointment and the actual length of appointments were also highlighted.

The investigation found that written information is generally not produced in an accessible format suitable for people with a learning disability.
 

We made a series of low-cost, practical recommendations. These included:
 
  • the production of appropriate written information - addressing style, size, use of pictures and language issues
  • communication training for health service practitioners
  • the maintenance of comprehensive health records
  • liaison with a Community Learning Disability Team
  • use of Patient Liaison Nurses
  • and the option of a passport system to help individuals with their communications needs


This investigation was updated in June 2013.  Overall, there had been a good deal of progress and people with a learning disability have more opportunity to voice their opinions about services. A number of strategies are in place, but time will tell how effective these will be in practice.

Health information for people with learning disabilities

A formal investigation under the Disability Discrimination legislation to evaluate the accessibility of health information in Northern Ireland for people with a learning disability.

This 2008 investigation identified that some healthcare professionals do not adjust their communication style for people with a learning disability. Other barriers to effective communication included attitude and levels of awareness as well as a lack of familiarity of the needs of people with a learning disability by health professionals.

Time issues, both in terms of waiting for a consultation (which, in turn, increased anxiety levels) and the actual amount of time available for consultation itself were also highlighted.

The investigation found that written information is generally not produced in an accessible format suitable for people with a learning disability.

The report outlined a series of low-cost, practical recommendations. These include the production of appropriate written information - addressing style, size, use of pictures and language issues; communication training for health service practitioners; the maintenance of comprehensive health records; liaison with a Community Learning Disability Team; use of Patient Liaison Nurses and the option of a Passport System to assist individuals with their communications needs.

 

 

2013 update on accessibility of health information for people with learning disabilities

This investigation was updated in June 2013.  Overall, researchers found that there has been much activity by health services in the five years under review, which has provided the foundation for improving the accessibility of health information for people with a learning disability. It will take further time for the overall benefits of policies and strategies to be seen.

Progress is being monitored through the Bamford Review Action Plans, through the Learning Disability Services Framework and through the review of strategies such as the GAIN Guidelines. Systems have been set up to ensure that people with a learning disability have the opportunity to voice their opinion about the services provided. It remains important that health information is accessible and it is encouraging that the health service has committed through a number of measurable strategies to do this.
 

 

Employment in health and social care trusts

Employment in health and social care trusts

In 2012, we examined the staff composition (pdf) of the health and social care trusts.  Read about the changing picture of fair employment and the positive impact of planned changes.

In most cases, whenever you as a patient or client need healthcare, medical treatment or social care, you have the right not to be discriminated against because of your race, gender, gender identity, disability, religion or political belief or sexual orientation.
 
 
 
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