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CNTW is committed to improving digital literacy and health inequality

Posted: 01/12/20

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has signed up to the Patient Information Forum’s (PIF) health and digital literacy commitment charter.

The call to sign the charter came after the publication of PIF’s health and digital literacy survey results on 5 October 2020. Throughout the survey a lack of recognition of the importance of health and digital literacy at an organisational level emerged as a key concern.

Health literacy is about people being able to find, read, understand and use healthcare information to make decisions about healthcare and following instructions for treatment. There is a strong link between low health and digital literacy and health inequality. Many working age adults in the UK today, lack the skills to understand and use information on health and wellbeing.

Sue Farrington, chair of PIF, said: “If we are serious about tackling the health inequalities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic then it is important for all organisations producing health information to become health and digital literacy friendly.

“Health information must be clear, consistent and accessible in all its formats if people are to make informed decisions about their health.

“Ensuring information is inclusive, culturally appropriate and co-produced are all key elements in making content health literacy friendly.”

By signing the charter the Trust aspires to make it easier for people to navigate, understand and use information and services to take care of their health by:

  • Using clear communication (verbal, written, digital)
  • Creating easy to use digital tools/websites, printed information and premises
  • Involving people in the development of information as routine and inviting feedback
  • Training staff in health literacy
  • Commit to consider digital exclusion and the equalities impact when introducing new resources.