The ‘Standard’, requires GP surgeries to capture, record, flag and share the communication needs of patients with sensory loss. At present, very little information of this kind is routinely captured and recorded in GP surgeries and hospital departments. This means it can be difficult for information about a patient’s communication needs to be safely and effectively shared within and between GP surgeries, hospital departments and other healthcare services.
From November 2017, GP surgeries in Wales have had the functionality to identify and record the information and communication needs of their patients with sensory loss. The system also provides tools for GP surgery staff on how to meet a patient’s needs once identified, such as how to generate letters in large print and how to add prompts to a patient’s medical record.
Additional work will take place over the next few months to add a further functionality. This additional functionality will ensure that when a GP surgery makes a referral to hospital services, a patient’s information and communication needs will be automatically sent with the referral, therefore increasing the likelihood of these needs being met.
A mandate, in the form of a Welsh Health Circular, along with an implementation plan, has been issued by Welsh Government to ensure full implementation of The Standard.
The success of the Accessible Information Standard will largely rely on the awareness of GP practices of their responsibility to capture and record this information, and the willingness of patients to share their communication needs with their surgeries. Following a series of engagement events with both the sensory loss community and health professionals, a series of resources have been made available to help raise awareness of ‘The Standard’.
We spoke to nearly 600 members of the sensory loss community and nearly 600 health professionals to seek their support and ideas to help shape the resources.