HOSPITAL passports designed to help people with learning disabilities are being ignored by doctors, a new report has revealed.

The passports assist those with learning disabilities to provide staff with important information about them and their health when they are admitted to hospital.

But a report by watchdog Healthwatch Lancashire has found that doctors are in some cases disregarding the passports, which are in the format of a colourful and informative booklet.

One person said in the report: “Doctors don’t want to see hospital passports.”

“(At Blackburn hospital) doctors don’t want to know.

“They work if the stay is planned or elective but not in emergency or urgent cases.”

Another who didn’t have a passport said: “A passport will be helpful.

“Because staff would then already know the situation, I wouldn’t have to keep explaining.”

Findings in the report by Healthwatch Lancashire also highlight that the majority of people (58 per cent) did not have or or were unsure whether they had a hospital passport.

From those who did hold a hospital passport, 63 per cent said it was either not used or they were unsure if it was used.

The report, which highlighted feedback from 330 people with learning disabilities and their families and carers about their health and social care experiences, also raised issues around communication and awareness.

This included pre-appointment communication, such as letters, as well as communication during appointments.

People said that additional staff training in learning disabilities and autism, including learning to use Makaton, and promoting the use of hospital passports, would help address this.

The passports were developed by East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (ELHT) and Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups in 2016.

Julie Clift, specialist nurse for learning disability and autism for ELHT said: "The trust has a clear policy for supporting patients with learning disabilities, which is readily available for all staff and incorporates the use of the hospital passports. The passport can be easily found, enabling staff to provide copies for any patients who choose to have one."