News

Improving Access to Healthcare

Published: 15 Sep 2019 00:01

Information cards provide support for new patients.

People who have experienced difficulty registering with a doctor’s surgery are to be given additional guidance through the launch of new information cards.

The Access to Healthcare cards are designed to offer support to vulnerable groups including those experiencing homelessness, people seeking asylum, refugees and the Gypsy/Traveller community.

The information, which highlights an individual’s right to register, is written in a way that is clear, simple and easy to access.

The cards (images below) will also assist reception staff in identifying a patient’s need for an interpreter or assistance in filling out forms.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“I am proud to be launching the Access to Healthcare information card which will ensure some of the most vulnerable groups in society can access the support and treatment they need.

“They will be distributed via the groups who work with Gypsy/Travellers, people seeking asylum, refugees and those people experiencing homelessness.

“The information provided on these cards will ensure good communication between patients and reception staff from the outset, leading to a more positive experience for everyone involved.”

Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said:

“I welcome the introduction of these information cards.

“By removing barriers to access we are demonstrating a practical approach to tackling discrimination and delivering equality. These cards represent a significant step towards improving access to public services for people.”

Katie Hawkins, a GP who works with homeless people at Edinburgh’s Access Practice, said:

“I believe the cards are an extremely useful way of informing patients and front line staff of the right everyone has to primary care.

“As a GP working with those experiencing homelessness I see the direct consequences of a lack of access to primary care.

“I hope the cards will help more of the most marginalised in society to address their basic health needs.”

Background

The cards were checked by the Plain English campaign to ensure they are clear for the intended audience and have been awarded the Crystal Mark standard for clarity.