Advocacy win: RNIB volunteer secures accessible health information

Post date: 
Thursday, 19 November 2020
Category: 
Campaigning
Eye health campaigning
Accessible Information Standard

We’ve supported an RNIB volunteer to get health information in her required format, using the NHS Accessible Information Standard.

Requesting accessible health information

Julie, an RNIB volunteer from Merseyside, was struggling to get information from her hospital in audio format, despite numerous requests.

After visiting The Walton Centre in Liverpool, Julie received a diagnosis letter in standard print. But despite reminding the Centre of her required format, she then received a printed letter, with an incorrect leaflet. After getting a friend to read these to her, she was understandably very anxious.

Raising the issue with hospital staff

As an RNIB volunteer, Julie is aware of - and able to speak up for - her right to accessible information. But when she raised the issue, Julie felt the member of staff didn't understand how important it was, to independently and privately access her personal health information.

After she got in touch a third time, Julie spoke the Patient Experience Team, who were able to confirm that the incorrect leaflet had been sent. However, after receiving another communication in standard print, Julie spoke to RNIB to explain her concerns.

RNIB support

We worked with Julie to contact the Patient Experience Team, explaining the importance of receiving accessible health information, and asking about the hospital's compliance with NHS England’s Accessible Information Standard. 

As a result, the Patient Experience Team arranged for a local society, Bradbury Fields, to transcribe Julie's information into audio format. To ensure Julie received it promptly, the hospital team personally delivered the information and apologised. 

Reflecting on the process, Julie commented:

I am so relieved to finally get the information I need in my preferred format after trying so many times, and the stress and anxiety that caused. I can’t believe how quickly, with RNIB’s support, it was resolved. But it shouldn’t take this type of intervention for people to get accessible information.

The Walton Centre said it was very sorry to learn of Julie’s experience, and they will use her experience to help improve their services.

Information and support

If you are struggling to access health information in your required format, our Accessible Health Information Toolkit explains what steps you can take.

For further support, you can contact our Slight Loss Advice Service at [email protected], or by calling 0303 123 9999.