Healthwatch Essex & Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust shortlisted for HSJ Award

A scheme improving access to hospital services for people with learning disabilities has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Understanding Inequality project, run in partnership by Healthwatch Essex and Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, is in the running for the Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year award at the Health Service Journal Patient Safety Awards.

Patients with learning disabilities took part in workshops, making recommendation on how to improve access to hospital services.

Those recommendations are now being put into practice thanks to staff and patient champions, helping to improve the experiences of the 17,000 people with learning disabilities locally.

Improvements include lanyards for learning disability patients and staff, so they can be immediately identifiable to one another, as well as making letters more visual and easier to understand.

Dr Kate Mahoney, senior manager at Heathwatch Essex, said: “We are committed to delivering improved outcomes for our patients, and to be chosen among the other incredible nominees is a wonderful achievement. This nomination has been a tremendous boost to staff and helps show patients we are helping make a real difference for them.”

Preeti Sud, Head of the Strategy Unit and lead for the Trust’s Health Inequalities programme, said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year award. This recognition helps shine a light on the collaborative efforts and dedication of our staff members and Healthwatch Essex, who have worked closely with patients with learning disabilities over the last 12 months to successfully run the Understanding Inequality project.”

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester this September.