Lancashire

Blind man's legal fight over hospital small print letters

Michael Tupper
Image caption Michael Tupper said he wanted hospitals "to do what they legally required to do"

A registered blind man is taking a hospital trust to court because its eye department keeps sending him letters he cannot read.

Michael Tupper, 72, who can only read large print with a magnifying glass, has accused East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust of discrimination.

It has sent him 14 letters in standard print in the last year, which Mr Tupper said had left him "angered".

The trust has admitted making some administration errors.

Mr Tupper was part of the trust's pilot scheme to ensure people with sight problems can read letters and information.

He said he had been unable to read important appointment details and confidential health information and had to get a neighbour to read the letters for him.

Mr Tupper said: "I tell staff at the hospitals again and again that I need large print, and I know it's recorded on my file, but they keep sending me small print that I can't read.

"It's been going on for years.

"I've had enough of asking and asking with no change."

Image copyright RNIB
Image caption Mr Tupper can only read large print with a magnifying glass

Mr Tupper is now working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to take legal action against the hospital.

The RNIB said all hospital trusts should adhere to the Equality Act 2010 as well as follow the Accessible Information Standard which ensures people with sight impairments get information they can easily read.

Samantha Fothergill, legal adviser at RNIB, said: "The treatment that Michael has received is unacceptable and, in our view, unlawful, but unfortunately it is not uncommon."

Prof Damian Riley, acting chief executive for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, admitted that "on some occasions, our administrative processes have not worked as they should".

He added: "We are currently actively reviewing our policies and communications mechanisms to make sure the information we send to patients is consistently in an accessible format.

"Although we are unable to comment on this particular case, we take very seriously any complaints raised about any service we provide to our patients, and we will do our best to resolve them."

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