A team that makes health information easier to understand has won an NHS Parliamentary Award.

The title will be presented this week, on the day the NHS marks its 75th birthday.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is leading the way in changing how it communicates with the people it cares for. It has set up a Health Literacy Team to lead the change.

Research shows health information can be hard to understand. When details are complex, it is difficult to benefit from.

The team is starting by changing how the Trust writes leaflets and some letters. They then plan to look at lots of other information sources.

In the future, everything from job adverts to parking information will be easier to follow.

The Health Literacy Team is also training others. This means more of the Trust’s staff can communicate in a way that is accessible and easy to understand.

The work is supported by partners. The team has done lots of work to link in with communities so people have their say.

Recognising this, the team has won for an NHS Parliamentary Award.

This nomination is in the Health Equalities category. It is one of 10 awards to be presented to celebrate regional champions.

The category highlights work to reduce unfair differences in health. Nominees must have brought together different groups and organisations to help prevent ill health in their community.

The nominations were made by Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott, Easington MP Grahame Morris and Jarrow MP Kate Osborne.

All regional winners are in with a chance of getting a national award. They find out who has won at an event in London.

It will be held on Wednesday, 5 July. This is the NHS’s 75th birthday.

Lorna Dawson leads the Health Literacy team. She joined as the Trust’s first Health Literacy Officer last year.

Lorna said: “I’m thrilled the team has been recognised for the impact the work is having.

“The task is huge. We’re a team of six. But we have taken those first steps and begun our journey.

“We’re already starting to see results in our Trust. The work we’re doing will help others here, in our region and across the country.

“We’re going to share what we find. By doing this, we’ll make people’s experience of healthcare, so much better.”

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne said: “I was proud to nominate South Tyneside and Sunderland Foundation Trust’s Health Literacy Team.

“They are providing vital information to patients and the community in my constituency.

“With the cost of living crisis and pandemic – all NHS workers could have been nominated.

“Yet as health inequalities widen between north and south, it is vital that our NHS Trusts do work such as this.

“It will make information more accessible and understandable. It will help some of the most vulnerable and left behind communities.

“It is brilliant to see this from our local trust. That is why I was so pleased to nominate them for the NHS Parliamentary Awards Health Equalities Award.”

The Trust’s Our People Podcast has shared an episode about the team’s work.

It can be listened to here: https://tinyurl.com/ybbm6z8x