Reasonable Adjustments autistic people are entitled to BY LAW FROM public bodies such as NHS | Ambitious about Autism
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Reasonable Adjustments autistic people are entitled to BY LAW FROM public bodies such as NHS

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Whirling Mind


Reasonable Adjustments autistic people are entitled to BY LAW FROM public bodies such as NHS

Sat 20 Apr 2013 6:12pm
Topic: 

Know your rights as an autistic person:

http://www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/Documents/mhn-briefing-255.pdf

It is a statutory requirement under the Equality Act 20101 and the Health and Social Care Act 20082 that public sector agencies make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to their practice to make them accessible and effective for all, including people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health issues, or a combination of these. This means changing services so that they are easier to use.”  

Adjustments should be made to appointment times, duration and interventions with the doctor. Recording systems in GP practices should identify people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health issues, or a combination of these, and show any reasonable adjustments they require, such as easy-read appointment letters and reminder phone calls or texts. There should also be more frequent contact in the time spent waiting for an appointment, so people know they are not forgotten.”

What are reasonable adjustments? 

Reasonable adjustments’ are changes to services to make them easier to use and access. This includes: 

removing physical barriers

having clear signs in buildings, giving directions 

using pictures and large print on appointment letters

making alterations to policies and procedures 

change staff training and service delivery to ensure they work equally well for people with learning disabilities or autism. 

Environment and workforce 

• offering a home visit 

References 

1. The Equality Act 2010. www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

2. The Health and Social Care Act 2008. www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_110288 

3. HM Government (2011), No health without mental health. 

4. Department of Health (2010), Fulfilling and rewarding lives: the strategy for adults with autism in England.

5. Department of Health (2009), Valuing people now: a new three-year strategy for people with learning disabilities.

6. Skills for Care and Skills for Health (2011), Getting it right for people with autism.

7. Mencap, Getting it right charter. www.mencap.org.uk 

http://www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/Documents/Briefing_202_MHN_autism.pdf

 “Statutory guidance is due in December 2010 placing legal duties on local authorities, NHS bodies and foundation trusts.”

http://www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/Documents/Briefing_202_MHN_autism.pdf 

Statutory guidance is due in December 2010 placing legal duties on local authorities, NHS bodies and foundation trusts.”

http://www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/briefings/Pages/mh-services-equally-accessible.aspx

People with learning disabilities or autism deserve equal access to mental health services and good treatment, but they currently receive variable treatment across England.”

For me, one reasonable adjustment is using email and/or fax to correspond with the GP practice.  All Doctors have NHS email addresses, and surgeries will have a general practice email address. Practice email addresses should end in "@nhs.net", mine does.  So the format would be e.g. Dr.[insert first name].[insert surname]@nhs.net for instance.  The general surgery one, which you would have to check with your individual surgery, could be e.g. [surgery name]@nhs.net, or it could be [reception/info/enquiries].[surgery name]@nhs.net.  One way to find out is to send a test email and see if it bounces back, if they are resistant to giving it out when you ask.  This should not be abused!  This is something that anyone could work out, it's not confidential information.

I checked with NHS PALS and they do not have a policy on use of email by GPs and they told me that I was entitled to send information to the GP using their @nhs.net email address (even without knowing of my disability status).  Despite this, anyone with a disability in law is entitled to this as a reasonable adjustment, so if your practice tries to hide it, don't forget most NHS departments are clueless about the law regarding disabilities and they may need instructing!

Only if you (or your child has a disability in law or a mental health issue or another health issue that the law covers, do you have a right to request reasonable adjustments for yourself/your child, although as PALS informed me patients can send information via their GP's email address anyway, but it might be only applicable to those with disability status to expect response by email I'm not sure.

If your GP tries to quote confidentiality and email security, PALS have informed me that the NHS use a secure email system.  So unless the recipient (patient's) email address is not secure there should not be a problem.  Also, by you using email to communicate with them, this does not mean they need to respond by email. they can respond by phone, letter or fax as they feel appropriate.

Don't also forget, employers must make reasonable adjustments in law for an employee with autism.  Other public bodies would be things like councils, government departments, schools, colleges, universities etc.

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3 Comments

  • Leanne's picture

    Thanks for posting Smile

    Leanne
  • phoebemonkey's picture

    My GP is actually brilliant at providing 'reasonable adjustments' - she lets me make appointments in advance (even when the practice's policy is to phone at 8.45am on the day), she always gives me double appointments (i.e. two slots) and that's written in my notes for the receptionists, and she lets me contact her via email about appointments, medications, etc. 

  • fixmatop's picture

    Thanks for posting this stuff, reasonable adjustments are something many still don't know they are  entitled to.  Although i still personally feel there is still a lot of loops holes that employers ect can find in the equality act. However, I do believe the hole purpose of it is fab.  I'd just love my doctors surgery to be able to look at my notes and know what things mean.  I have never really been told i can email so never ask, when i need to ask GP something importanI always get very stressed out an anxious and I never ever feel I come out feeling they have looked at the problem.  I would love to just write down all the stuff i want to say before i go and ask him to read it but know he won't.  I do however, feel other things are getting changed for better, eg waiting area's ect.  I remember having big discussion about this before and good piece Sara wrote about it on here somewher it was either her or Ann

    Kim - Community Champion

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