An Accessibility Advisory Group has been established, led by disAbility Cornwall with representatives from the Cornwall Disability Alliance which includes iSightCornwall, Hearing Loss Cornwall, Mid-Cornwall Lifestyles, Active8, Cornwall Accessible Activities Programme, Merlin MS Centre, Cornwall Mobility, Cornwall People First and the Cornwall Memory Café Network. Not only is the group working together with RCHT representatives to ensure co-production of the many strategic projects planned and in progress across the Trust, but it will also discuss long-term issues around the existing estate such as accessible parking as well as ease of use of current facilities, with a view to making adjustments and improvements.
Already, the Accessibility Advisory Group has been reviewing the plans for the new MRI and Oncology Unit which is under construction by the front entrance of the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Input has been provided for the Unit’s access routes and doorways as well as the interiors, such as colour schemes, fixtures, fittings, and signage. This is to ensure the voices of the people with differing lived experiences are included in the decision-making processes, from commissioning to co-design and co-delivery.
Plans for the new Outpatient Department at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance, which was granted planning permission in February 2022, will be scrutinised and discussed next, whilst the latest designs for the new Women and Children’s Hospital will also be the subject of discussion and co-design later in the year. Accessibility and inclusiveness around the existing estate will also be on the agenda this year following the outcome of a site-wide accessibility review which has been commissioned.
“The creation of the Accessibility Advisory Group is a great step forward for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust to understand and act on the needs of people with a range of lived experiences and enabling them to have their say. Coproduction within health settings has never been more important, particularly in an environment where a major building programme is underway, and we look forward to a fruitful partnership with the Trust,”
says Jane Johnson MBE, Chief Executive, disAbility Cornwall.
“We already work with the Trust, supporting people with their discharge home from hospital, providing holistic support and enabling people to get home and settled with support. However, the new Accessible Advisory Group allows the Disability Alliance members, and their stakeholders, to work together more closely with key managers within the Trust, thereby engaging and addressing issues directly, openly and responsively. This is to everyone’s benefit,” she adds.
“We are delighted that the Trust is working proactively with disAbility Cornwall and the Disability Alliance,” says Thom Lafferty, Director of Strategy and Performance for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. “It is important that the representatives within the Accessibility Advisory Group are given a voice to help shape and inform our hospital environment around accessibility and inclusiveness. Everyone’s voices should be heard, whatever their disabilities and impairments, in particular as we move forward with the construction of some of our larger strategic projects. We hope this partnership is the start of a robust working relationship and that it welcomes in a new era of coproduction at the Trust.”