Last year Healthwatch Dorset publicised some new national health & care complaints guides, written by Healthwatch England & Citizens Advice. Some of their followers on social media asked if the guides were available in an easy read version, a format that presents text in an accessible, easy to understand way for people who have a learning disability. Healthwatch England & Citizen Advice had no plans to produce an easy read guide, so Healthwatch Dorset decided to make it happen themselves. Working alongside Poole Forum, a local "speaking up" group run by and for people with learning disabilities in Poole, they produced an easy read version of the guide.
Shaun Hayward, a member of Poole Forum who helped Healthwatch Dorset produce the guide, told us:
“I would use this guide as it easy to understand. It helps you with all the steps you need to take when making a complaint. It should be in all the hospitals, Doctors surgeries and dentists across the country”.
This local initiative has received recognition from the national board at Healthwatch England and Healthwatch Dorset has worked with them and Citizens Advice to replicate the project on a national scale.
Commenting on the news, Jane Mordue, Interim Chair of Healthwatch England said:
“It is important that everyone gets the support they need to complain if they are not happy with the care or treatment they have received, in a format that’s right for them. We’re pleased to see this contribution from Healthwatch Dorset, which we hope will help people with learning disabilities to make their voices heard.”
Healthwatch Dorset has made the new easy read guide freely available to all the other Healthwatch groups across the country.