How easy is it to access your health or social care service? And what is access anyway?
Spotlight on Mental Health
There is a spotlight currently on the lack of provision and access to Mental Health services, and rightly so. Families, people needing the service, organisations who have tirelessly campaigned, Health and Social Care professionals, Royalty, celebrities and recently the president of the family division of the high court have all given their views. It has got me thinking about how easy it is to access other services where there is provision (I will save a later blog to where I believe there is not).
I have a secret to tell
I do not tell many people this, and now ironically I am telling everyone! I am dyslexic. I don’t say that word often. I am assessed in the moderate range. I was assessed at 28 – which I found hard, as my then boss had a few emails regarding my use of ‘bare with me’ in emails and other such things. He noticed my reluctance to pick up a pencil or pen – especially in team building and where you have to put up a piece of A3 paper and write all over it (I still hate that you know).
My access to an assessment, the right software, the right people, and the right help have enabled me to work with the words for the last 12 years. I have no doubt I am slower at producing blogs than most, but access to support gives me the opportunity to express myself– and yes even make a living from writing!
Stop and think about access
When you stop and think about it, access is a pillar for all we do. The word can be used in varying degrees, because
- Without access, people may not be able to physically enter, or their entrance may be hampered to your service.
- Without access to the right information and assessments, people may not be able to understand what they are entitled to, or know a service even exists.
- Without the right support and aids in place, people may not want to access your service, or may have their choices limited within the service.
- Without the right knowledge, understanding and delivery – people won’t have access to the service they require in relation to their protected characteristics.
Access is for everyone involved
Access is not just about people who use or want to access your service, but
- Other professionals may need to access it, and be accessed from it
- Health and social care staff will also need to be able to access policies and procedures to understand or refresh knowledge on the quality care they need to provide, and what to do in specific circumstances and;
- Family and friends wanting to visit or to have their say about the service provided
The Care Quality Commission believe in access
The Care Quality Commission’s Revised Adult Social Care Key Lines of enquiry and Prompts – for use from November 2017, mention ‘access’ 43 times and each domain has something to say about it. What a golden strand!
So what’s the message?
I think my message is simple today. Have a thought for access today, not just one thing – but for all the pieces that make up the beautiful picture of quality care…
Some Useful Information
NICE: Improving access to health and social care services for people who do not routinely use them – this is for Local Authorities and their partners, but some useful information and tools
Stammeringlaw.co.uk – making services accessible