Improving Digital Access to Primary Care across 292 practices in West Yorkshire

292 GP practices across six CCGs in West Yorkshire are benefitting from a new partnership with Iatro Partners (iatro.) that provides accessibility audits, support and new website development for practices that do not meet the legal requirements for accessibility.

Digital access to Primary Care is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. GP practice websites are the digital front door for patients to receive information and communicate with the GP Practice, and it’s vital that the websites are accessible to as many patients as possible irrespective of condition.

The importance of website accessibility is reflected in recent legislative changes that affect all GP Practices in the UK. The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018, and the H&SC Accessible Information Standard requires all GP Practice website to support equitable access to information and services for people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

Unfortunately, many GP Practices in the UK do not adhere to full accessibility standards. To address this challenge, Leeds CCG set up a project spanning 7 CCG’s across West Yorkshire to conduct a two-phase plan, whereby a full accessibility audit on the practice websites across the region was completed to identify improvements, followed by a website development project to bring all GP Practices up to the required standards. The project covers NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG, NHS Calderdale CCG, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, NHS Leeds CCG, NHS North Kirklees CCG and NHS Wakefield CCG, and is being delivered in partnership by South and East Leeds GP Federation (SEL) and Iatro Partners.

Speaking about the project, Ciara Dunne (O’Grady) from South & 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.

We’ve been really happy with Iatro’s support and delivery on the project. They’ve been ultra-responsive and proactive and deal with requests quickly, with an open and transparent partnership approach. The quality of the websites is also fantastic”.

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”.

About iatro.: iatro works with organisations to deliver disruptive digital solutions through the use of intelligent platforms – easily and without significant investment. Iatro’s Practice365 Website and App solution is used by practices across the UK.

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