Press Release – Charity supports vital local healthcare services
Local charity Deaf Direct has been working closely with NHS patients, staff and health organisations to minimise communication barriers for those living with hearing loss.
Thanks to support from NHS staff, the charity has been able to assist British Sign Language users to access services run by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who manage Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital.
Deaf Direct are proud to have served the NHS since 1995 with high quality communication professionals such as sign language interpreters to ensure patients get the treatment they require and are able to understand their health care needs.
Philip Gerrard, Chief Executive of Deaf Direct stated
“We are grateful for the cooperation of NHS staff across Worcestershire in ensuring they are offer accessible services for those living with hearing loss. Without their support and help, many deaf and hard of hearing people would struggle to access information around diagnosis, treatment or how to improve their health issues – something hearing people often take for granted.”
“Whether in need during an emergency or for booking a routine appointment, deaf sign language users can rest assured that their local health services are working with us to ensure their needs are met.”
A team from Deaf Direct has also recently worked with Healthwatch Worcestershire and the Care Quality Commission’s Primary and Integrated Care Team to ensure GP surgeries understand the needs and experiences of patients with a hearing impairment.
Following recommendations by the charity, Healthwatch and CQC established a new set of supplementary inspection questions around identifying numbers of hearing impaired, deaf or profoundly deaf patients. These questions explored:
- communications in the reception area
- whether sign language interpreters were present
- how test results are presented to patients
- whether dedicated phone systems are in place to support patients.
Deaf Direct’s assistance has helped to improve the patient experience in GP Surgeries in Worcestershire so that more deaf and hard of hearing people will be able to better access services at their GP surgery as a result. Their work has also contributed to implementation of the Accessible Information Standard at local GP Surgeries.
Jo Ringshall, Director of Healthwatch Worcestershire with Lead Responsibility for Sensory Impairment said
“We are delighted to have identified ways to support deaf and hard of hearing patients in Worcestershire in partnership with CQC and Deaf Direct. The purpose of the project was to ensure patient’s voices count in health and social care. This is particularly important for those with hearing loss who may struggle to make their voices heard because of communication barriers. By working together, we have ensured the needs of these patients will not go unnoticed.”
“We look forward to many more years of working with local health services to ensure deaf and hard of hearing people do not face disadvantage because of their disability,” Philip Gerrard concluded.
If you are a health or voluntary sector organisation and would like support to make your services accessible for those with a hearing impairment, please contact Deaf Direct on 01905 746 301 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.