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Communication guidance for patients with disabilities

21 June 2013

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The Department of Health (DH) is set to introduce guidance to help healthcare professionals make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to improve communication with people with disabilities, it has been revealed. 

The guidance will outline changes that GPs and other healthcare professionals can make to help disabled patients to understand messages conveyed during consultations. 

During parliamentary question time, Health and Care Minister Norman Lamb said that DH is in the process of publishing guidance. 

He said: “Two reminders about reasonable adjustments for disabled service users were also issued to NHS bodies through the Department’s regular bulletins in 2012.

“The Department is currently in discussions with its partners about publishing guidance on making reasonable adjustments in health care settings with a view to make a decision before the end of July.” 

GPs and other NHS workers are required to make adjustments, which could involve ‘alternative formats’ for giving information under the Equality Act 2010. 

Lamb said: “NHS bodies must think in advance and on an on-going basis about what disabled people with a range of impairments might reasonably need.”