Promoting rights awareness through accessible information and the voice of lived experience.

The ‘Investigating Knowledge and understanding of the right to health’ report provided some concerning but important reading. Having previously reviewed other reports, including the ‘See Hear Strategy Refresh’ report from the Sensory Hub, groups including disabled people, ethnic minorities, and Gypsy/Traveller communities face significant barriers to realising the right to health. I believe that the ALLIANCE must work with organisations like the Scottish Government to ensure there is greater accessibility of information available. This issue was apparent throughout the See Hear report, with many respondents expressing frustration about receiving information in print, for example, when they do not have any vision.

A few themes stood out to me most, such as the lack of accessible information, confusing language, and a difficult and stressful complaints process. I believe that it is essential to have the direct involvement of those with lived and living experience of the barriers to accessing the right to health.

One of the key findings that the ALLIANCE must help to address is the lack of understanding of the right to health and the rights of individuals. Participants specifically highlighted this as an area in which there is a significant lack of understanding, meaning that many people may not realise that their rights are not being upheld. I agree that the ALLIANCE could use their influence to engage with the Scottish Government, as well as health care organisations to ensure that information is clear and accessible for all. See Hear demonstrated this, with respondents arguing that many services, such as healthcare did not know how to meet accessibility requirements. With both reports revealing similar findings, the ALLIANCE should engage regularly with duty bearer organisations like the Scottish Government, as well as promoting lived and living experience.

Reviewing the report demonstrated that the complaints procedure can be both confusing and traumatising for those who need it. It is clear that many respondents feel that the system does not hold duty bearers to account for violations. These procedures should be made simpler for people to access, with information easy to understand and available in different formats. The See Hear report produced similar findings, with one respondent highlighting that there is high use of British Sign Language (BSL) for those with a hearing impairment, before going on to point out that only 1.2% of those with a hearing impairment use BSL, meaning that many people do not have access to this. Duty bearers should be mandated to demonstrate how they ensure that rights are upheld. The Scottish Government should be engaging with duty bearers to ensure this is the case.

The report calls for there to be a “One stop shop” for complaints, making the process simpler for all. This is something I support, with input from those with direct experience of making complaints.

The report also illustrated that whilst many organisations provide information on human rights, few provide direct information on the right to health. This is something that organisations including the third sector could do to spread information on this topic. Many participants felt that the issue was redundant because information is not widely provided. The lack of information, and lack of accessible information is a concern within both reports, with See Hear also highlighting this as an issue. I feel that all recommendations within the report must be taken forward. We must listen to those with experience and ensure that we use feedback to give an appropriate response.

This opinion forms part of a specially commissioned series by the Health and Social Care Academy which reflects on learning and insights from the report ‘Investigating knowledge and understanding of the right to health’.

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