A PARTIALLY sighted woman has spoken out about her 'unacceptable' experience at Winchester hospital.

Anna Tylor is the chairman of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

She has been receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH), after being diagnosed in May.

Ms Tylor lives in Fulflood, and has spoken out about the accessibility issues faced by her and other blind and partially sighted people.

The 59-year-old said that some of the problems have caused her added anxiety, which could have been avoided.

Ms Tylor said: "I found the lump myself, I knew immediately what it was. I was not surprised, but I was shocked.”

Chemotherapy lasts for six months, with a visit to the RHCH every three weeks. From November 24, Ms Tylor will receive weekly treatment until February.

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Ms Tylor said: "I was very fortunate, two nurses have really put themselves out for me.

"The system is working against them and there is very little understanding. It risks patient safety. The NHS need to make sure measures are in place.

“Access to information is the biggest problem. It has caused me added stress which I could have been without. The rules around accessible standards have been in place for six years. 

“Patient safety, they have a professional obligation for this. We should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder. They don't know I have read and understood the information I have received.”

Ms Tylor described an experience she had when visiting the RHCH for a medical appointment. 

She turned up at the hospital, to find that the door to the building was locked. There was a small notice on the door, saying to use a different entrance, but Ms Tylor couldn't see it. It was only thanks to a passer-by that she was able to find the correct entrance.

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Ms Tylor said: "It's unacceptable and unnecessary. I don't expect I was the only person that missed it.

"There is a lack of knowledge, it isn't good enough. I don't want this to happen to others. Hampshire Hospitals need to take this seriously. Systems and training need to be in place. It has been a horror show, but not everyone has been horrible.”

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The safety of our patients, ensuring their equal access to healthcare and that they feel empowered and respected throughout their care is of the utmost importance to us. It is clear from Ms Tylor’s experience that we have fallen short of the standards our patients need and rightly deserve – I apologise unreservedly.

“We at Hampshire Hospitals take this matter very seriously and are currently rigorously investigating the issues raised. I am grateful to Ms Tylor for sharing her experience with us and intend to remain in conversation with her as we learn the lessons from this and use them to improve the care we provide to all of our visually impaired patients both now and in the future.

“In the interim, we have already taken the following steps. Work is underway to revise the patient card to ensure this meets the requirements for large print.

“The HHFT disability champions group is working with the trust to continually improve patient experience and staff training. This includes working with our dedicated lead nurse for patient support services to improve key on-site signage.”