NHS Equality campaign launched during Disability Pride Month

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is raising awareness of the importance of fully accessible health services for patients across the region with sensory disabilities or other communication needs.

The 5 Rights campaign will remind both NHS patients and staff of the rights that everyone has when accessing NHS services – including those who rely on braille, British Sign Language (BSL), easy read, or language interpretation services.

It’s a message that is being highlighted during Disability Pride Month, which is celebrated during July each year.

Supported by GP practices, hospitals and other health services across the Cheshire and Merseyside area, the campaign aims to highlight how the NHS is required to follow 5 steps when providing care to anyone who is D/deaf, blind or visually impaired, has speech or language difficulties, or any other communication needs.

These 5 steps include:

  1. Ask if you have any communication needs.
  2. Record those needs on your health records.
  3. Ensure those needs are easily visible on your records.
  4. Share those needs with other services if you are being referred.
  5. Make sure those needs are met as part of your care.

All NHS organisations in Cheshire and Merseyside have interpreter and translation arrangements in place to enable local health teams to meet a patient’s communication needs – whether that’s at a GP practice, hospital or from a community health team.

Patients, families and carers are being reminded that all patients are entitled to ask their health team for reasonable communication adjustments to be made – in order for them to attend appointments, safely receive treatment, and make informed decisions about each step of their care.

If this doesn’t happen, patients have the right to complain, and can do so at any time. Patients can either complain directly to the organisation providing the care, or to NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Patient Experience Team by calling 0800 132 996 or emailing enquiries@cheshireandmerseyside.nhs.uk

You can find more details on how to make a complaint on the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside website.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, Deputy Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside said:


“This campaign is part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring that all patients in Cheshire and Merseyside receive the same high quality care, regardless of their communication needs, and whichever part of the NHS they are using.”

“We know that the quality and availability of interpretation services for our patients who rely on them has not always been consistent in the past, but have been working hard to improve this support.

“We really do want to remind NHS patients, carers, family members, and staff, that every patient has a right to receive additional communication support if they need it, when accessing care in any part of the NHS – and if this doesn’t happen for any reason, we really want to hear about it so that we can improve things.”

The campaign also aims to increase awareness among patients with communication difficulties about how they can access the emergency services, including in a health emergency situation when someone’s life may be at risk.

Two of the most simple ways to do this is via the Emergency SMS or the Relay UK assistant services:

  • To use Emergency SMS - text the word 'register' to 999 to set up the service on any mobile phone or device
  • To use Relay UK - dial ‘18000’ through the Next Generation Text (NGT) app, or from any textphone now to get set up.

If you or a loved one has a communication difficulty, please don’t wait for an emergency situation before considering this – get prepared by setting up your access now, just in case.

Content provided by NHS Cheshire and Merseyside.

Published on Wed, 10 Jul 2024 14:29:35 GMT
Modified on Thu, 18 Jul 2024 12:48:24 GMT