Healthwatch Lancashire receives highly commended recognition at national award

We are pleased to announce Healthwatch Lancashire has been recognised as highly commended in the Giving people the advice and information they need at the 2019 Healthwatch Network Awards.

Healthwatch Lancashire’s work on the NHS England Learning Disability Toolkit was recognised as ‘highly commended’ in the Giving people the advice and information they need category.

The Project

As a part of Healthwatch Together, Lancashire Healthwatch worked with three other Healthwatch to ensure women with learning disabilities had access to quality information in an accessible format to help them make informed choices about screening opportunities.

Evidence shows that this cohort of women have a lower than average take up rate for cervical and breast cancer screening than women without learning disabilities.

Healthwatch Together undertook a series of co-production workshops across Lancashire and South Cumbria through various groups to establish:

  • the reasons why women with learning disabilities may not attend cancer screening appointments
  • how information on cancer screening programmes can be improved
  • how to encourage women with learning difficulties to attend appointments.

Two Easy Read Toolkits were produced:

  • ‘Me and my lady bits: an easy read guide to breast screening’
  • Me and my lady bits: an easy read guide to cervical screening’

The Outcomes

  • Women with learning difficulties can now be supported to make informed choices about screening
  • professionals feel more confident about how to provide appropriate support
  • families and carers have the same information available including a section on useful prompts to encourage meaningful and helpful communication and a concertina version is being developed
  • The Toolkits are being used by: NHS England, Women and those who support them to uptake cancer screening programmes
  • GP practices and Health and Social Care providers.

We are extremely proud that our work, along with the work of our Healthwatch colleagues has been recognised at this year’s awards. Access to reliable information about our health and our bodies should be a core part of all of our lives. By working in partnership and with the involvement of community groups, the work we have produced has the potential to make a big impact on the lives of many.