Following work done on the use of Red Bags in other areas of Yorkshire, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Learning Disability team have now got funding to extend the use of VIP red bags to reduce health inequalities and ensure vulnerable adults with learning disabilities have a better experience of visiting hospitals in the District too.

The red bags include a copy of the VIP hospital passport which contains information on how the person communicates, what support they need, how they express pain and anything else relating to health needs including guidance on how they like taking any medication. The bag may also include any items that will make the person’s journey through hospital a positive and comfortable experience such as any eating/drinking aids, sensory aids, things that may help distract the person or comfort them if they are feeling anxious.

Victoria Donnelly, Strategic Health Facilitator for Learning Disabilities at the Trust, said: “People with learning disabilities can often need additional support and reasonable adjustments when accessing hospital, to get their health needs met. The Red Bag scheme ensures that people have important information about their needs in one place – for instance, their hospital passport or medication requirements.

“We are grateful to the Better Lives charity and the Lottery fund for providing the funding to ensure we can provide people with learning disabilities with these bags.”

The red bags will help clinicians to improve their care, making reasonable adjustments where necessary. This will assist the person with learning disabilities to be less anxious and more able to receive treatment.

Victoria added: “The red bags also help to provide a visual flag to hospital staff that the person may need some extra support and it gives the person a secure place to keep important personal things that might help them have a more relaxed stay in hospital.”

If you want to find out more about the Red Bags, email the team, They will be working with BTHFT and local advocacy groups in the Bradford, Keighley and Craven area during Learning disabilities awareness week. They will be showcasing these at Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale Hospital during that week.

The charity raises funds to enhance patient care and go over and above the core services offered. Find out more about the charity: