Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with Iatro Partners, an intelligent platform company, to make digital primary care more accessible across West Yorkshire.
According to a recent case study published by the Leeds-based company, 292 GP practices across six CCGs in West Yorkshire are now benefitting from the new partnership, which provides “accessibility audits, support and new website development” for practices that do not currently “meet the legal requirements for accessibility”.
Delivered in partnership by Iatro Partners and South and East Leeds GP Federation (SEL), the project includes: NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG, NHS Calderdale CCG, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, NHS Leeds CCG, NHS North Kirklees CCG and NHS Wakefield CCG.
Digital access to primary care has been in the spotlight increasingly, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Iatro’s case study says that “GP practice websites are the ‘digital front door’ for patients” to receive important information and communicate with their practices, at a time when in-person appointments have been limited.
Recent legislative changes, Iatro says, such as from the “Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018, and the H&SC Accessible Information Standard”, require all GP Practice websites to “support equitable access to information and services for people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss”. However, some GP Practices in the UK do not yet adhere fully to these.
To address this, Leeds CCG set up a project spanning CCG’s across West Yorkshire. As part of a “two-phase plan”, a full accessibility audit was undertaken of practice websites across the region to “identify improvements”, and this was then followed by a website development project to bring all practices up to the required standards.
Ciara Dunne (O’Grady) from South and East Leeds GP Group (SEL GP) said: “We recognised that across the region, there was an inconsistency in the quality and accessibility of the GP practice websites. We wanted to make sure that a person’s condition, whether it be dyslexia or visual impairments for example, wouldn’t be a barrier to accessing primary care.
“Iatro helped us complete a full and comprehensive review of the accessibility offered across the region, and we’re now working to develop new websites that tick all the boxes for accessibility, with additional benefits too such as mobile friendly design and central publication of content.”
Thomas Porteus, CEO of Iatro, said: “The recent legislative changes to accessibility haven’t been widely promoted, so many practices simply aren’t aware that they may not be compliant. Irrespective of the legalities, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the importance having a reliable, well designed and accessible website is to ensure equitable access and care is provided for patients. We’re delighted to have helped the region maximise the quality and effectiveness of their digital front door.”