Accessing NHS Antenatal Services as a Blind Person - Ben's & Aliya's Perspective
Meet Ben & Aliya - Both Braille Readers and Parents to be!
Ben and Aliya are both registered blind and are expecting their first baby in March 2017. Accessing antenatal services and appointments has been “challenging and frustrating”, but both have high expectations with the Accessible Information Standard now being in place.
Despite having different levels of vision, both Aliya and Ben are registered blind. Aliya defines herself as “totally blind”, but unlike Ben, she has no light perception. Ben can see basic shapes and colours, but “nothing in any detail“.
Both are passionate readers, citing braille as the medium that gives them total independence. That said, both enjoy audio books and are currently working their way through the Harry Potter series.
Aliya explains how accessing NHS services and information has been difficult since she first found out she was pregnant.
“The baby is due in March. We’re both super excited. The inaccessibility started with the pregnancy test. We needed someone to help us read the results. But we kind of expected that. What we hadn’t banked on was having problems independently accessing NHS services and information!”
“The midwives have all been totally amazing, but it’s the information that they give us; the appointment letters that we’re sent – they’re just completely inaccessible.”
“It’s exceptionally frustrating to have to wait for a friend to drop by to read your scan date letter. To be totally honest, we’re not even sure we’ve received an appointment letter until they open it. Quite often the letter is in standard print, but the crucial date and time information is handwritten. Hand written information is impossible for us. We can’t even resort to scan & read technology to read that.”
For Ben, the new Accessible Information Standard is great news and gives him hope.
“It’s a big deal. NHS organisations now have to provide information to us in a format that we’re able to access independently. That means our private and confidential information can stay just that!”
More About EasyConverter & the Accessible Information Standard:
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