Responding to the recent publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, Business Disability Forum has welcomed the additional funding announced for GP and mental health services, highlighting the vital role that many GPs play in helping disabled people remain in employment.
Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum said:
“The role that GPs and others in primary care play in supporting millions of disabled people and people with long-term conditions to stay in work often goes unnoticed. Yet for many people they make working possible, by helping them with the ongoing management of their conditions.
“Like many other healthcare professionals GPs face an ever-expanding workload, making it more difficult for them to provide the level of care they would like. We therefore welcome the additional investment in GP care along with expansion of community multidisciplinary teams, announced in the NHS Long Term Plan.”
Whilst welcoming the plan, Business Disability Forum has raised concerns about the ongoing technology gap experienced by disabled people when accessing NHS services, and has called for greater clarity over how the specific communication and digital needs of disabled people will be met, particularly for people who, are Deaf and British Sign Language Users and people with learning disabilities.
Diane Lightfoot said:
“Through our membership, we are aware of disabled people who simply cannot access the healthcare they need because the ways of contacting a service to make an appointment or to request medication are inaccessible. For example, one employee who is Deaf told us that he had to take a taxi to a hospital in order to book an appointment because the hospital only arranged appointments over the phone.
“Whilst there is much in the plan about using technology to increase access to healthcare services, we would like to see further detail on how the NHS will ensure the technology and app are fully accessible to everyone, including those with communication needs, and available across all healthcare settings and services. Involving disabled people in the development and user-testing of any new technology is key.”
Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit membership organisation which exists to transform the life chances of disabled people. It does this by bringing together business leaders, disabled people, and Government to understand what needs to change to improve the life opportunities and experiences of disabled people in employment, economic growth, and society more widely.
Through its Going Places campaign, Business Disability Forum is working with employers to breakdown the daily barriers that disabled people often face accessing employment. Find out more at www.businessdisabilityforum.org.uk