IRD – Small changes make big difference for disabled patients

Tiaho Trust is working alongside Manaia Health PHO general practices to Improve their Responsiveness to Disabled (IRD) patients.


West End Medical Centre agreed to be the pilot medical centre and assisted Tiaho Trust to refine their assessment of the centres both in terms of physical barriers and attitudinal barriers.  Gail Stacey IRD Project Coordinator said that their input was invaluable in moving the project forward and subsequently attaining a 75% uptake of the project by Manaia Health PHO general practices.


Stuart Willson Managing Director of the West End Medical Centre comments “After our centre was assessed and we received our report from Tiaho we decided to swiftly implement the suggestions made in relation to accessibility as they made good sense”.  The recommendations included installing contrast strips to the nosing of the stairs at the entrance, installing a grab rail in the non-disabled toilet, installing additional internal signage and adding protection to the bollard at the end of their ramp. 


He said that they have already had positive feedback about the improvements to the centre which had only been implemented in the last few weeks; in particular a patient with a visual impairment commented that the contrasting strips on the front stairs made them easier to negotiate.


Mr Willson said that “We constantly try to provide the best possible service to our enrolled population and this project has a good fit with that ethos.  We found the improvements we have made were practical and didn’t cost a lot for such a big gain”.


Over the next few months Tiaho Trust will be assessing and undertaking staff training with a further fourteen medical centres. The training includes working with disabled people and raising general practices awareness of what Disability Advisory Support services are available in the community. 


Tiaho Trust is very pleased with the response to the project from the general practices to date and looks forward to a continued relationship with them.