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Northern Health and Social Care Trust create Northern Ireland’s first hospital Accessibility Guides

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has become the first healthcare Trust in Northern Ireland to partner with AccessAble; the UK’s leading provider of detailed disabled-access information.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has worked with AccessAble to create over 80 Detailed Access Guides to facilities, wards and departments at Antrim Area Hospital and Causeway Hospital, including the maternity services, intensive care units, occupational therapy, and outpatients.

The Guides are 100 per cent facts, figures and photographs to help patients, visitors and staff plan their journeys to and around the hospital, covering everything from parking facilities and hearing loops, to walking distances and accessible toilets.

The Guides also include a newly developed section dedicated to giving information about COVID-19 measures, covering information about external queuing points allowing for social distancing, limitations to the number of people allowed in a venue to give more space, additional hygiene measures including hand sanitizing, signage, screened areas, staff PPE, and cleaning.

We know everyone’s accessibility needs are different, which is why having detailed, accurate information is so important. It’s why all of the details you’ll find in the Guides have been checked in person, on site, by trained surveyors.                                                                                        

Anna Nelson, Chief Executive of AccessAble, said:

“We are thrilled to launch this landmark partnership with Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

I would like to express my thanks to the Trust for championing the provision of hospital accessibility information and demonstrating what can be achieved through collaborative working and co-production.

There is a real opportunity now to roll this programme across Northern Ireland to ensure disabled people and carers have the information they need, regardless of the healthcare service they visit."

Alison Irwin, Head of Equality at Northern Health and Social Care Trust, said: 

“I am delighted to have worked in partnership with AccessAble and the Trust’s Disability Consultation Panel to produce Detailed Access Guides for Antrim Area and Causeway Hospitals. These will help improve accessibility to services and allow service users and their families to plan their journeys in advance."

Torie Tennant, Chair of the Disability Consultation Panel at Northern Health and Social Care Trust, said: 

“I am delighted that the Trust has worked with AccessAble to create Access Guides in two of its hospitals.  Hospitals can be stressful enough, but if you can plan your visit in advance, it can make a huge difference, allowing disabled people to know in advance what the layout of the hospital is like and reducing anxiety as much as possible.

I would like to thank AccessAble for their work on the Guides and I hope other hospitals and health care settings can learn from this and other Guides can be created in future.”

You can view Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s Accessibility Guide here:  https://www.accessable.co.uk/northern-health-and-social-care-trust

It’s also available via the AccessAble App which is free to download from the App Store and Google Play, giving you accessibility information at your fingertips during your hospital visit.

The information to Northern Health and Social Care Trust joins over 70,000 places already covered across the UK, making www.AccessAble.co.uk a great tool not only for planning a hospital visit, but also a day out or trip away.

For more information about the project, please contact Ellen Ilott, Partnerships Manager at AccessAble on 01438 842710 or email [email protected].

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