HOSPITAL chiefs have apologised after admitting disabled patients have been sent communication in a format they cannot easily read or understand.

East Lancashire Hospitals Trust said that their administrative processes have not worked as they should on some occasions.

They said this may have led to patients suffering inconvenience through receiving information in a format that is not suitable for their needs.

It comes after the Lancashire Telegraph reported on the case of blind pensioner Michael Tupper who is taking legal action against the trust after he said it repeatedly failed to send him communication in a format he could read.

Mr Tupper, 72, from Clitheroe, who lives alone and is registered severely sight impaired and is unable to read standard print, requires correspondence to be delivered in 18pt font which he reads with a magnifier.

Despite this, he said the trust– including its ophthalmology department – routinely sends him inaccessible letters and leaflets – with Mr Tupper receiving 14 in the last year alone.

Amongst the correspondence Mr Tupper has been unable to read are important appointment details, questionnaires and confidential health information that he has occasionally needed to have a neighbour read for him.

He is now working with the charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to take legal action, as he said his treatment amounted to discrimination.

Although not apologising directly to Mr Tupper, Professor Damian Riley, acting chief executive for the trust, said: “The Trust works hard to provide people with disabilities of all kinds the information they require in the format they request. It is our aim to implement the Accessible Information Standard in a way that will benefit all our patients.

“However, on some occasions, our administrative processes have not worked as they should. We would like to offer an apology to any of our patients who may have suffered any inconvenience through receiving information in a format that is not suitable for their needs.

He said the trust is currently reviewing its policies and communications to make sure the information sent to patients is consistently in an accessible format.

They added: “Although we are unable to comment on this particular case (Michael Tupper), we take very seriously any complaints raised about any service we provide to our patients, and we will do our best to resolve them.”