A pioneering "Help Card" – billed as the first in the country – for people to use when they visit a GP surgery, NHS hospital, dentist or optician has been launched in the North East.
It has a blank panel to note any special requirements, a tick list of languages for those who cannot speak English, and will be free to patients, relatives, friends and carers.
Says City Hospitals Sunderland spokeswoman Stephanie Smith: "There was a need for something to help people to overcome some common problems when using their local NHS service.
"For example, a lot of people have problems getting around hospital, finding their way to places and sometimes may not hear their names being called during appointments. Others have difficulty in understanding what is happening or may not speak English.
"We want everyone to have a positive experience when they use their local health service and the NHS Help Card will take away some of the common problems people face, putting the onus firmly on the NHS to respond and support patients whatever their query or concern."