Healthcare communication failing blind and partially sighted people

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 18th February 2020

Blind and partially sighted people are not receiving healthcare information in accessible formats, a new RNIB Scotland report reveals.

Information is being sent to people in inaccessible formats, which both risks people missing out on vital healthcare treatments and relying on others to read and communicate the content of medical documents to them – often breaching medical confidentiality.

Launching the Communication Failure? report (this link will take you away from our website), RNIB Scotland’s Laura Jones said “This can put patients at risk of missing treatment as well as being confused or misinformed about their healthcare needs. The NHS itself puts great emphasis on the cost, in money and time, of missed appointments to over-burdened clinics. So giving patients accessible information makes sense.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are clear that blind and partially sighted people should absolutely get healthcare information in accessible formats. NHS boards are responsible for delivering this information and we expect all boards to follow the Charter of Patient Rights, which stipulates that everyone should have access to information and services in a way appropriate to their needs. The charter was revised and strengthened last summer and we wrote to all boards to remind them of their responsibilities under it.”

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