Making it easier for people with learning difficulties to attend hospital appointments in East Kent

We've been working with East Kent Hospitals for several years now helping them to make it easier for people with learning difficulties to attend a hospital appointment. Check out what's changed as a result.
Your care, your way

In 2017, we partnered with East Kent Mencap to visit all three hospitals in East Kent to see for ourselves what support is available for people with learning difficulties. Together with a volunteer, who has learning difficulties, we went to the main reception and to Outpatients to see what support was available to help them attend their appointment.

We found some great examples of how they had done things well, but also identified several areas where services could be improved.

Based on our feedback, we’ve been working with East Kent Hospitals to help them make a number of improvements including:

A new audio & Braille transcript service

A new British Sign Language interpreting service via video

Pictorial books to help reduce communication barriers

Mandatory training about AIS for all staff

A new card which Deaf people can use to indicate that they need a BSL interpreter. This was designed in partnership with Healthwatch Kent and the Deaf community

New posters explaining the AIS standard designed in partnership with people who have learning difficulties

The video relay service gives me independence and confidence, now that I contact hospitals without needing to ask a hearing person to help

What's next?

We continue to hear from people who are struggling to attend hospital appointments or visit their GP because they cannot communicate across Kent.

There is clearly more to be done to ensure that people feel confident that when they come to hospital or visit their GP that the support will be in place to help them communicate.

We will continue to work to make improvements. Tell us your story and help us make more change. You can text us on 07525 861 639 to let us know that you need a BSL Communicator which we will arrange for you.

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Read the full report here

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