Paula Simpson, Chief Nurse, Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
As Chief Nurse I am excited to share two of a number of projects underpinning our commitment here at Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust to ensuring our services are welcoming and inclusive for all.
It is really important that all of our patients, service users and their families feel welcome, included and respected when accessing services or receiving care from our organisation.
Our pledge is to get it right for everyone and this work is well underway and growing day by day.
A recent report published by Signhealth, The Deaf Health Charity, found 81% of deaf or hearing-impaired NHS patients nationally reported having an appointment where their communication needs were unmet. Half of deaf people said that their needs were rarely met, and that challenges to communication often added to the emotional stress of dealing with health issues, with many avoiding seeking medical care for fear of communication barriers.
We are therefore delighted that Tuesday 1 March will see us launch our partnership with Signalise Coop, providers of British Sign Language and interpretation for deaf people.
Meeting the individual needs of each person and making adjustments can help ensure a person’s experience and journey through our Trust is the best it can be.
Signalise Coop is co-owned and co-run by both members of the local Deaf community and BSL/English interpreters, ensuring person centred care. We are thrilled to collaborate with them to support our deaf communities. Anybody deaf or hearing impaired who uses any of our services, either by planned appointment or a walk-in has our absolute commitment that staff will endeavour to provide a positive experience.
If you, a family member, friend or somebody you care for accesses our services and requires additional support by way of British Sign Language or interpretation, please let us help you.
Secondly, I would like to let you know about a series of surveys we have planned, inviting you to get involved. They focus on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and will help us identify where we need to address any barriers. The experiences of staff, service users and patients are key to us understanding and ensuring our Trust is an inclusive and welcoming environment for staff, patients, service users and their families.
Our staff, as a sign of safety and allyship to anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+, wear an NHS Rainbow pin badge. The badge is a commitment to staff, patients and their families that they can openly share their gender identity or sexuality and that we are an open, non-judgmental and inclusive healthcare Trust
We will shortly be sharing a survey with patients and service users to gather feedback and views. This survey is open to everybody irrespective of gender or sexual orientation and will help improve the experiences of LGBTQ+ people working for, visiting or receiving care from our organisation. You will be able to access the survey on our website and social media channels. It will take just a few minutes to complete and will make a difference to so many.
What you tell us will help steer our vision to ensure LGBTQ+ people feel visible, valued and represented. Please complete the survey when it is launched in the coming week.