April Newsletter 319

Petition demands accessible health information for blind and partially sighted people

A new petition launched by the Sight Loss Councils is calling on the government to adopt five key measures to ensure that blind and partially sighted people have full access to their healthcare information. It is now urging people to sign the petition.

The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) was introduced by NHS England in 2016 and was designed to ensure people who need healthcare information in an accessible format, for example, Braille, audio or large print, receive this.

More than five years after the AIS was introduced, research by Sight Loss Councils has found that 90% of blind and partially sighted people still do not receive health information they could read. In addition, more than half of local NHS bodies have not developed local policies to deliver on the standard’s requirements.  This research has led the government to agree to review the standard.


What is it like to write a book when you cannot see?

Given the wide spectrum of sight loss, and the fact that many people who lose sight may have had fuller vision for much of their life, it is hard to generalise.

But if the creative essentials – character development, plot and story structure, writing from a subjective or objective perspective – are the same, how does someone whose sight is impaired depict a person or a setting they haven’t seen? Do they rely more on dialogue, on describing sounds, smell, touch? Does this offer a different take on narrative?

It makes for interesting discussion among members of the creative writing group set up by national sight loss charity RNIB Scotland. Writing fiction can sometimes help them escape the boundaries they face in everyday life, or dramatise the problems these create for others.


A 31 year old man became blind within a month. Undiagnosed diabetes was the cause

Luis Riollano didn’t realize his excessive thirst and urination were signs of Type 2 diabetes and that by leaving it untreated it could threaten his sight.