Healthwatch Swindon have recently completed a report about nine quality checking visits made to GP practices and dental surgeries in Swindon. The visits were undertaken by supported volunteers with learning disabilities between August 2018 and April 2019.
According to NHS England, “Quality checking is where people with a learning disability, autism or both are employed to help us look at the quality of the services they use and tell us how we can make them better.”
Healthwatch Swindon worked with Swindon Advocacy Movement to recruit and train volunteers and support them to undertake the visits.
Whilst all providers made some specific arrangements to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities or on the autistic spectrum there are common and consistent themes and recommendations for change or improvement in all the reports. Practices should bear in mind the requirement to make reasonable adjustments and the guidance available.
The volunteers made three main recommendations which were common to all the premises visited:
- Improved physical access including parking arrangements and door opening.
- Provision of easy read signage and information throughout – both inside and outside buildings.
- Clarity of displayed information.