Edgware walk-in centre run by the Central London Community Healthcare Trust (CLCH) has launched the ‘Hidden Disabilities Sunflower’ initiative to improve the healthcare experience of staff, patients and members of the public with a non-visible disability.
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower symbol, which can be worn on a lanyard, enables people to access the support they need by discreetly letting those around them know that they have a non-visible condition. Visitors and staff members at Edgware Community Hospital Walk-in Centre can now request a sunflower lanyard for free from the reception.
Staff at the centre will provide a helping hand, understanding, or more time to visitors wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.
The bright idea to launch the scheme at Edgware Walk-in Centre came from CLCH volunteer and patient representative Dilesh Tanna, who has a hidden disability: “The sunflower lanyard usually grabs someone’s attention, letting them know that you have a hidden disability, such as a learning disability or autism. Staff may then know to ask if you need help or allow you to have more time.
“At first I was very much hesitant in wearing this lanyard before I got reassurance from my parents as to why I should be wearing it. They suggested that there is no harm in wearing this and it may lead to better help from people, especially professionals.
“In one instance I had worn the lanyard on the underground and a stranger gave up his seat, just because he recognised the lanyard I was wearing.”
The initiative is being piloted at Edgware Community Hospital Walk-in Centre, and the Trust will look to roll out the sunflower initiative across more clinics, centres and community hospitals in London and Hertfordshire during the year.
Kathleen Isaac, North Central Divisional Director of Operations at Central London Community Healthcare Trust said: “We are delighted to launch this project at Edgware Community Hospital Walk-in Centre as it reflects our commitment to improving access for people with a disability.
“Our staff are proud to support this initiative as it helps them to recognise when a colleague or patient may need a helping hand.”
Billy Hatifani, Deputy Chief Nurse at Central London Community Healthcare Trust said: “It is important that the NHS is accessible to all and that from the top down, every staff member, patient or visitor with a non-visible disability will be met with an offer of support and understanding.
“I am proud of the positive steps that CLCH is taking to reduce health inequality.”
Caroline Collier, CEO for peer-led charity, Inclusion Barnet, said: “It’s encouraging to learn that Edgware Community Hospital Walk-in Centre is striving to make health services more accessible. Our hope is that this becomes a meaningful step toward reducing health inequalities for those whose access needs are less apparent.”
Patients and visitors who consider themselves to have a non-visible disability can speak with a member of the reception staff at the Walk-in Centre for more information about the lanyard, and how to request one.
If you would like to order a sunflower item before attending the hospital, rather than requesting one upon arrival, please purchase it from the Hidden Disabilities Store.