Sheffield disabled people raise concern over communication from health bodies including issue over Do Not Resuscitate letters

Disabled people are struggling because of poor communication from NHS services in Sheffield, according to a watchdog.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:00 pm

Healthwatch Sheffield says it’s a recurring problem which patients are repeatedly complaining about.

Judy Robinson, chairman of Healthwatch, highlighted one problem at a council meeting regarding streets which had been adapted for social distancing.

Visually impaired people could no longer negotiate familiar routes because of the changes and it was “really frightening” for them.

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Judy Robinson of Healthwatch Sheffield.

Confusion over Do Not Resuscitate letters was also raised at the meeting.

Ms Robinson said: “We keep saying communication is really a critical issue and it’s often the most vulnerable people who get the worst of it.

“There is a disproportionate impact of Covid on disabled people, particularly people with learning disabilities and communications is a real issue.

“It’s not consistent, not person centred, no one is thinking does it work for the person receiving it?

“Post lockdown there is a huge amount of fear in that community and there’s a real need to ask people about their worries and how services might need to be done differently to take that into account.

“How do we use the canaries in the coal mine to get a real time grip on what’s happening?”

Coun Jackie Drayton said the council and health bodies would take it on board.

“We had an issue with Do Not Resuscitate letters that people said were going out from GPs, not necessarily in Sheffield, but a lot of the people with learning disabilities were really frightened because they were worried they were going to get one.

“We did reassure them that nothing was being sent at the moment. It has been in the national news and I think they picked it up from friends in other local authorities, not Sheffield, but we needed to pick up on this. None of us want people with disabilities to feel any worse than they already feel.”