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New guide outlines best ways to make it easier for disabled to use Bradford doctors' surgeries, dentists and opticians
GP practices, dentists, opticians and pharmacists are being given extra help to make their services and premises easier for disabled people to access.
All primary care services have been provided with a new local NHS guide which gives them information on the best ways to improve their access for disabled patients.
The guide has been developed by the local NHS and includes information gathered from local disabled people, primary care providers and from national best practice. It contains many simple and inexpensive tips to improve access, such as: l keeping a hearing loop switched on all the time a GP practice is open – so a hearing aid user doesn’t have to ask l flagging up a disabled person’s access requirements on the screen receptionists see.
Lynne Carter, head of equality and diversity at NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, said: “Disabled people are a very diverse group with most people having a non-visible disability, so it’s very important for primary care services to try and improve access for them.
“We’ve worked closely with disabled people to find out some of the problems they experience when using NHS services and also some of the things that can be changed quickly and easily to make a big difference.”
Wheelchair user Jill Grant worked in an advisory capacity on the guide after taking part in an accessibility audit of local primary care premises. She said: “We found basic things were needed, like contrasting colours on signs, literature available in different formats and doors that allowed people of all abilities to get through easily.”
Jackie Croft, patient services manager at The Ridge Medical Practice in Great Horton, Bradford, has welcomed the guide. “It will have a very positive impact, not just on ours, but on other surgeries,” she said.