Launch of UK's first online national disabled access guide to healthcare services
DisabledGo, the UK's foremost provider of disabled access information, has launched a new initiative aimed at transforming patient satisfaction amongst disabled people. DisabledGo-Health is the UK's first comprehensive online national disabled-access guide to healthcare services providing free, detailed access information to, for example, local hospitals, dentists and GPs.
This new online guide comes after years of research that documents how difficult it is for the UK's 11 million disabled people to find access to healthcare that is appropriate to their specific requirements. How to find a dentist with step free access or a GP surgery with a hearing loop are among many of the features that the service offers on www.disabledgo.com, helping to benefit the estimated 258,000 disabled people and those with a direct link to disability in Hertfordshire.
The aim is to empower disabled people to make an informed choice about where they go for their healthcare, with anticipated results including a better patient experience, enhanced clinical outcomes, reduced waste and higher patient satisfaction levels.
Developed by disabled people for disabled people, DisabledGo-Health provides a cost effective, highly targeted service for NHS Trusts. Once signed up, surveyors trained in evaluating accessibility compile detailed guides to every patient service within the listed Trusts, including GP practices, dental surgeries, opticians, pharmacies, walk-in centres and hospital departments. Access information is then collected, collated and published online at www.disabledgo.com. All information provided on the site is developed with the continual involvement of disabled people across the UK, ensuring the most useful, comprehensive and up-to-date service.
NHS Trusts have a responsibility to all patients. The DisabledGo-Health initiative encourages Trusts to sign up as part of their commitment to involving and engaging with disabled people at a local level. It extends patient choice along the lines of Lord Darzi's initiative to provide 'High Quality Care for All', enabling Trusts to invest in patient satisfaction.
Martha Lane Fox, Champion for Digital Inclusion comments "This is a great initiative which gives disabled people more freedom and more opportunities with which to have a fuller life".
DisabledGo-Health is a significant achievement for those concerned with patient choice and equality for disabled people. "We want to empower disabled people and their families, carers and friends to make the sort of autonomous choices regarding healthcare that non-disabled people take for granted. We already have over 20 NHS Trusts as partners, and the feedback from Trusts suggests the majority will participate in the Project by 2010," said Dr. Gregory Burke, Founder and Chief Executive of DisabledGo.
The availability of the online access guide will help to increase patient choice for disabled people; improve the clinical experience for patients by informing them of access in advance, reducing agitation and distress at the time of examination or treatment and cutting the number of missed appointments by those patients discouraged by access uncertainty; and widen staff perception and understanding of disability.
Justin Spencer, Assistant Director Estates and Facilities, West, East and North Hertfordshire PCT the first PCT to sign up to DisabledGo-Health supports this initiative and applauds the depth of information available to disabled patients; "Our partnership with DisabledGo has enabled us to identify and inform members of the public regarding issues related to disabled access, allowing them to assess the accessibility of a building and make appropriate choices and arrangements in advance. Furthermore, the surveys undertaken provide invaluable information for the development of a programme of accessibility improvement works across our clinics and community hospitals".
For the first time, disabled patients now have a real choice about where they go for their healthcare. DisabledGo-Health is part of DisabledGo's commitment to empower disabled people to be included within their communities, by providing the highest quality information.
DisabledGo, 17th November 2009