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Do you ask the question?

Do you ask the question?

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PATIENT: Hello, can you tell me where the doctors surgery is please?

STAFF MEMBER: Yes, there is a sign just there that will take you straight to it.

PATIENT: Ok.

PATIENT: Hello, I've got an appointment at 10 o'clock.

RECEPTIONIST: Hi, could I just get you to fill out one of our new patient questionnaires? If you just take a seat the Doctor will be with you shortly.

PATIENT: Ok, thank you.

RECEPTIONIST: Elizabeth you can go through now.

DOCTOR: I've got some leaflets which I'm sure you'll find very helpful, perhaps you can go through them in your own time once you've gone home. There's a massive amount of information about a wide range of topics in there, I think you'll find them very useful.

ELIZABETH HAS DYSLEXIA AND ASPERGERS... COULD YOU TELL JUST BY LOOKING AT HER? ASKING JUST ONE LITTLE QUESTION COULD MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

PATIENT: Ask me if I understand.

ONE LITTLE QUESTION CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. EVEN IF IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE TO ASK.

PATIENT: It would be really useful if you could ask me how much information I'd need, so that I can be involved and understand.

PATIENT: Why don't you ask me why I'm in a wheelchair?

PATIENT: Please ask me the question, not my parent.

PATIENT: Ask me about who I am and what is important to me.

PATIENT: Ask me how I'm feeling, ask me if I'm feeling lonely.

PATIENT: Ask me if I have time to understand you.

PATIENT: If you've asked me the wrong question, don't make a meal of it, just move on.

PATIENT: Ask me if I would like anybody with me.

PATIENT: Before you ask me any questions, introduce yourself and please let me know if you are about to leave.

THE SIMPLEST QUESTION CAN BE THE HARDEST TO ASK, BUT IT'S OFTEN THE MOST IMPORTANT.

PATIENT: Go on...

PATIENT: It's ok...

PATIENT: Ask the question...

PATIENT: Ask the question...

THANKS TO PATIENTS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WHO GAVE US THEIR INSIGHT, STAFF FROM SHREWSBURY AND TELFORD HOSPITAL NHS TRUST AND SHROPSHIRE COMMUNITY HEALTH NHS TRUST.

Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust and Shropshire Council have all committed to focusing on equality and diversity for their staff, to improve the patient experience. By asking one simple question, nurses, doctors and reception staff could help make a difference to patients.

To help raise awareness of the importance of equality and diversity, a special video led by local patients has been created. The video highlights a patient story, where a patient struggles to access the support and information they need. If members of staff had asked one simple question - do you understand? Or does this information make sense? the patient potentially would have felt less frustrated, would know how to manage their condition better and would feel confident in accessing services.

As part of this focus on equality and diversity, staff are asked to take a few moments to think of what simple question would help their patient. Have you checked whether your patient has understood the information given to them, this could be because they have difficulty understanding due to dyslexia or perhaps English is not their first language. Have you asked a patient going through gender dysphoria whether they would like to be called by a male or female pronoun i.e. Miss, Mrs or Mr? Have you considered cultural issues about mealtimes and privacy for praying?

Across the local health system, staff work hard to ensure patients have access to the right treatment and support. But sometimes, it is the little things that can make a big difference.

Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group was awarded £10,000 to promote equality and diversity locally. Working with patients and local NHS staff the powerful message “do you ask the question?” was created and supported by a short accessible film.

At a special event being held on 17 May, Chief Officers from all the organisations, patients, voluntary sector organisations and staff are being shown the video for the first time.

Patients can also help promote this campaign, by telling staff if there was one question that could have made their experience better. You have the right to be treated fairly, equitably and with dignity and respect. If this does not happen please mention it to that member of staff or phone our Patient Advice and Liaison Services. Your experience can help us to improve.

Find out more at twitter on @do_you_ask

BBC Health News