West of England SLC works with Sirona care & health

West of England Sight Loss Council (SLC) has delivered two vision awareness sessions to staff at Sirona care & health.

Over 20 members of the Sirona Diabetes and Nutrition Services (DANS) team attended the sessions to learn how they can best support people in their care who are blind and partially sighted (BPS).

West of England SLC has worked with Sirona over the past year to explore how they can improve their services for BPS people. Earlier this year, they joined Sirona at its Accessible Information Standard (AIS) working group meeting. West of England SLC were able to highlight the importance of delivering the AIS across their services, alongside other key partners.

During the vision awareness sessions, SLC volunteers discussed best communication practice and demonstrated sighted guiding techniques. Staff also had the opportunity to wear simulation spectacles. These special glasses mirror various sight conditions many patients have and give the wearer a unique insight into sight loss.

Staff were highly engaged throughout, eager to learn and came up with several solutions as to how they can better the support they offer for BPS people.

West of England SLC is working with Sirona to help implement their AIS policy and looks forward to delivering more vision awareness sessions across the service.

Two members of staff are participating in the sighted guide training. One member of staff is leading the other.

Staff members participating in sighted guide training


Feedback from the session

Jerry Floyd, West of England SLC member, said:

“I really enjoyed delivering our vision awareness sessions to the staff of the Sirona Diabetes and Nutrition Services unit. The sessions were highly energised and comprised of clinicians, nutritional, and administrative staff.

“The staff were fully committed throughout the sessions, and I felt we greatly improved their understanding of the challenges visually impaired people face in the community.

“It was a pleasure to work with them and I am looking forward to rolling out further sessions to other teams within Sirona”.

Alun Davies, Engagement Manager for the South West, said:

“We were very impressed by the patient-focused and community orientated approach the Sirona team takes in their work.

“Much of what they already do centres on making their service as accessible and responsive as possible to individual patient needs.

“It was a pleasure to work with them. Their approach and enthusiasm made our job easy. I look forward to continuing to build on our working relationship to ensure that their services are accessible as possible to people with sight loss.”

Nicki Mead, Clinical and Operational Lead for Diabetes and Nutrition (DANS) and Heart Failure Services at Sirona, added:

“I would like to say a very big thank you for delivering the two vision awareness sessions – they were fantastic. The team really enjoyed the experience and having a safe space to explore and understand the challenges that someone with sight loss may have when accessing our services.

“I loved the fact the team were coming up with ideas and solutions to support improving access.  It really helped that Sight Loss Councils reassured the team that it was a non-judgemental space. Staff were relaxed and open to learning, eager to give things a go.”


Two members of the Sirona DANS team are taking part in sighted guide training. The man is wearing sim specs, and being guided by a colleague.

A member of staff wearing sim specs, is being guided by a colleague

Feedback from Sirona staff

“It was an informative and interactive session. It was non-judgemental and a safe space to ask questions and understand what we can be doing to ensure we are as accessible for people with a vision impairment.”


“It was a really good session with a mix of fun and seriousness. We could explore some of the issues that someone with sight loss experiences when accessing and communicating with our services. It provided real food for thought on how we can improve things within our service.”

About Sight Loss Councils

Sight Loss Councils are led by blind and partially sighted members and funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust. We advocate the needs of visually impaired people and work to improve access to goods and services at a local and national level.

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Passionate about making a difference? Want to influence positive change? Our Sight Loss Councils, led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, are recruiting new members. Join us today!

We use our lived experience to create positive change for others. Together, we tackle local issues and work with businesses and service providers to improve the accessibility of their services.

Join us to help ensure visually impaired people in your area can live the lives they want to lead.

You’ll get the opportunity to create positive change for others, meet like-minded people, have a voice, feel valued, receive training and learn or enhance your skills. Whether you’re interested in public speaking or honing your social media skills, there’s something for everyone to get involved in.


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Publication date: 17 July 2023

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