AT survey gains backing from leading organisations

24 July 2020

Leading disability organisations are backing BATA’s efforts to promote the use of AT in the UK by identifying the country’s most essential assistive technology (AT) products.

The British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO), the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH), the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF), Home Farm Trust (HFT), Leonard Cheshire Disability and Scope are among those that have expressed support for BATA’s efforts to compile a UK version of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Assistive Products List (APL).

Disability and elder care organisations along with individual AT users are being asked to identify their most essential AT products in a major online survey. The UK APL survey will enable BATA and its stakeholder partners to establish a list and act as a catalyst for sector discussions on how to help guide UK policymakers plan, procure, provide and support the use of assistive products into the future.

“It’s vital that we continue to ignite debate and raise awareness about the possibilities that technology offers, particularly in building an inclusive workplace culture,” says Steve Tyler, Director of Assistive Technology for Leonard Cheshire. “It’s essential that all responsible organisations seize the opportunity technology presents to break down the barriers faced by disabled people every day.”

BATA members joined disability organisations at the first UK APL stakeholders meeting on July 21 to discuss how the survey could be used to raise awareness of AT in the UK. 

The idea of creating a national APL for each country came from WHO to highlight the unmet need for AT around the world in the same way that its Essential Medicines List (EML) initiative has successfully broadened availability of high-quality affordable medicines.

“AT products are in use, every day in the UK. Ranging from spectacles and hearing aids, orthotic shoes and wheelchairs to screen reading software and fall detectors for the elderly. All of these products and many more are all types of AT,” says Esther Dakin-Poole, Project Manager of the UK APL survey.

“By collating them through a national survey, we can find out what types of assistive products are important to us in the UK, across all the areas of life where we use AT, such as in rehabilitation, education, physiotherapy or medical and social care,”

The UK is only the third nation to carry out an APL survey and the first high-income country to do so.

You can access the initial survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LD7MYJ6  or download a PDF.

Those who take the survey are asked to select the products most essential to themselves or their membership, from a current list of 100 items that represent a broad selection of the many devices available. Respondents are also asked to suggest products that are not currently mentioned for consideration in the final UK list.

Should you or an organisation that you represent wish to learn more about the UK APL process, please contact Esther Dakin-Poole at ukapl@bataonline.org.