Support for Covid-19 tests for visually impaired people

People carry out asymptomatic testing using lateral flow antigen at a test centre at Edinburgh Unive

Redbridge Sensory Services will provide help to visually impaired people to access Covid-19 home testing kits. - Credit: PA

Redbridge Council is offering help for visually impaired people and those with sensory disabilities to get access to Covid-19 home testing kits.

The system for requesting a Covid-19 test at home presents a considerable barrier to visually impaired people, especially those who don't have a support network.

Under the current process, people call 119 and need to provide a mobile phone number and email address, and need to read the barcode before returning the test.

For some individuals without a support network at home, or access to email or a mobile phone number, they have no way of accessing the service.

People who fall under this category can now contact Redbridge Sensory Services, which will be aware of their circumstances and can request the home testing kit for them.

It will also log their details to receive the results on behalf of the individual.

The door-to-door testing programme commissioned by the council's public health team will deliver the kit to the individual and either wait while they take the test or return to collect it.

Olav Ernstzen, chairman of Redbridge Low Vision Group, commented: "This is an excellent initiative by Redbridge, bringing together the services and skills of the wellbeing and sensory services teams to support visually impaired people or those with sensory disabilities with Covid-19 home testing kits.

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"This is the type of pioneering work that we and other local authorities are doing to benefit our communities. Redbridge is undoubtedly leading the way."

Cllr Mark Santos wants to thank all staff in the council and health services.

Cllr Mark Santos said he was happy to work on the new initiative to help get as many people tested in Redbridge as possible - Credit: Archant

Cllr Mark Santos, cabinet member for adult social care and health said the current home testing system isn't conducive for visually impaired people who don't have a strong, reliable network.

He said: "It somewhat concerns me that little progress is being made on this, despite the government being strongly lobbied on this issue.

"That's why we've seized this initiative and worked with our partners at Redbridge Sensory Services and the Royal National Institute of Blind People to implement a support system that is sensitive to their needs and provides them with the support they so desperately need at this difficult time."

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