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Hospital becomes world’s first to support disabled people through app

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A hospital in Scotland has become the first in the world to introduce a first-of-its-kind app to help staff deliver more person-centred care for people with disabilities. 

NHS Golden Jubilee has introduced WelcoMe, an app designed to put disabled people in control of their service experience. 

Use of WelcoMe will be rolled out to all outpatients of Scotland’s flagship hospital, as part of an innovative six-month pilot programme.

“Patients have always been at the heart of everything we do here at NHS Golden Jubilee, and we are delighted to be taking forward this exciting collaboration with the team at WelcoME,” says Robert White, NHS Golden Jubilee service design and equalities lead.

“As a Disability Confident Leader, making sure we are offering the highest quality of care and experience for those who need our services has always been a priority for us, and this project is the latest step in our dedication to creating an accessible space for everyone who comes through our doors.”

The pilot will run until November 2021, and will be open to everyone who is coming to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital as an outpatient.

Ahead of their visit, patients will be sent information on how to download and set up the app.

Users will then be able to build and share an accessibility profile with their specific needs and information about when they will be arriving, enabling the venue to be aware of any special requirements they may have in advance of their visit.  

It also gives staff the opportunity to receive real time training and guidance on how to interact directly and appropriately with relation to any needs, disabilities or conditions they choose to disclose.

Gavin Neate, CEO and founder of Scotland-based WelcoMe, says: “Anxiety about travel and arrival will be a major factor in access to and use of the health sector for many disabled people as we transition through lockdown.

“WelcoMe aims to reduce this anxiety by providing a service that supports the disabled person arrival whilst at the same time supporting the staff member in the provision of service. 

“As a Scottish company, we could not be more proud that NHS Golden Jubilee will be the first hospital in the UK to employ this award-winning technology and we look forward to helping the NHS build back even stronger than they were before.”

The launch of WelcoMe comes just months after the unveiling of the new Golden Jubilee Eye Centre at the hospital, currently one of the most accessible healthcare facilities in the UK.

The Eye Centre, which will carry out approximately 18,000 cataract procedures a year for patients across Scotland, features a wide range of unique accessibility technologies and wayfinding support to meet the varying needs of the NHS Golden Jubilee’s diverse patient demographic.

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