Purpose of visits
This visit programme contributed to one of Healthwatch Lambeth’s priority areas; access to community based services and their impact. We chose to focus on community pharmacies because most people use these services. We were interested in how well these services meet the needs of people with learning disabilities as there is wide-ranging evidence of inequalities experienced by this user group in healthcare settings.
Our visits aimed to assess:
- how accessible the general healthcare and wellbeing advice is in Healthy Living Pharmacies for people with learning disabilities
- the quality of information and advice provided for dealing with long-term conditions
- how kind the service is.
By drawing on the insights from the visits, we hope that good practice can be supported and extended across all Healthy Living Pharmacies in Lambeth, and that the learning disabled community can develop greater confidence to use pharmacy services more effectively, in place of unnecessary visits to GPs and hospitals services.
During the visits, the Enter and View team used a range of criteria to assess each pharmacy including physical accessibility, staff behaviours and attitudes, the information provided and its accessibility (see appendix 1). Indicators for the physical accessibility of the service were based on an easy read access survey developed by Leonard Cheshire Disability.
The visits programme was part of our ongoing work with learning disabled (LD) people in Lambeth.
Why learning disabilities?
We chose to focus on the issues adults with learning disabilities face when accessing community services because according to Mencap, the learning disability charity:
- people with a learning disability are 50 times more likely to die aged under 50 than other people
- four times as many people with a learning disability die of preventable causes as people in the general population
- 75% of GPs have received no training to treat people with a learning disability.