News, Primary Care News

South East London ICS launches scheme to improve digital access

NHS South East London Integrated Care System (ICS) has launched a new scheme to improve digital access for people with learning disabilities or severe mental illness.

As part of a £60,000 project, funded by ‘Digital First Primary Care’ run by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the programme focuses on improving digital access to GP services.

The pilot is being delivered by Mind in Bexley and Bexley Mencap, with residents in south east London, and is supported by South East London CCG, London Borough of Bexley, Bexley Health Neighbourhood Care and the Local Voluntary Sector Council.

A number of initiatives have been introduced as part of the pilot launched in October 2021. One focus in on providing GP practices with feedback and immediate changes on their websites, to create greater accessibility and improving resources such as easy to read health information.

Mind in Bexley have also set up a non-clinical peer-led monthly group and delivered an education webinar for the local population themed around self-care.

The next initiative focuses on digital skills, through an online event to raise awareness to map local support to people with a learning disability wanting to learn digital skills. In addition, one-to-one digital training has been made available to help solve any ‘digital challenges’ there may be in the region.

Bexley Mencap are now developing a learning disability plan, as well as producing three short films. The films will focus on the Learning Disability Register, Annual Health Check, and winter messaging and the importance of community pharmacy. The aim is to consolidate local easy read information and other resources available via GP websites.

Dr Sid Deshmukh, GP Lead for Bexley in the South East London CCG and Chair of the Bexley Borough Based Board, said: “This is a great example of how working in partnership in Bexley has enabled us to secure significant funding to really make a difference to people with learning disabilities and severe mental illness and how they access primary care.”