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Language and disability support for patients

Support will include using language lines for three-way telephone interviews or face-to-face interviews with a BSL interpreter present where appropriate.

The Patient Experience is a team of three. Two members are Bengali/Sylheti speaking, beneficial as there has been a degree of reliance on family members where patients have been unable to communicate directly due to language barriers (e.g., Somali, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Arabic, and other community languages not spoken by the team). 

However, the service plans to work more closely with the Advocacy and Interpreting Team to reach these community languages. Further support will also include using language lines for three-way telephone interviews or face to face interviews with a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter present where appropriate.

The team has also used visual feedback forms and resources such as visual aids to support people with language, communication, or literacy issues. The service is also working with service managers across the Care Group to ensure that feedback tools such as leaflets and useful resources about services are available in different formats, including the most common-spoken languages in Tower Hamlets.

Since the pandemic, the team has facilitated and led virtual group discussions hosted by established community groups both where there is a pre-existing relationship and those established since the UK lockdown, as well as a limited number of in person sessions.

The team is very aware of, and attempting to tackle, the issue of digital exclusion across Tower Hamlets. 

Once a whole-systems review is completed, the team share the document with those who gave their feedback. Thereafter, follow up sessions are held to keep people informed about implementation of recommendations made so they remain informed about the impact of their involvement on coproducing service improvement.

Feedback is anonymous unless individuals wish to be named and identified in reports, and options to speak at Tower Hamlets Together Board level are offered where individuals express an interest in telling their story in person.