Petition for Deaf Services
|Kerena Marchant, from Surrey, started a petition to challenge Surrey County Council’s decision to create a joint tender for services for both blind and deaf people in the area. After her petition got enough signatures, she was given the chance to speak directly to the Council’s cabinet to ask them to change how they provide deaf services.
She shared with the well-known website relating to Deaf issues, Limping Chicken what she intends to say in to the Cabinet:“Joint funding (health/social care) has started nationally and it is and will be a disaster for this community resulting in no access to services and serves to increase disengagement and risk.
National and local Social services provision to the Deaf Community must be:
• 1. accessible,
• 2. specialist
• 3. culturally appropriate
For example it is known from research that Deaf children and adults are substantially at risk from mental health problems, more than non-deaf people, and with a national shortage of deaf specialist inpatient facilities access to specialised Deaf mental health support and services in the local community is critical.”The whole move to single tender was flawed from conception day in January 2015 to the awarding of the tender to Sight for Surrey. Since they took over the tender in October, Deaf people report they can’t contact them. There are no video phones with signing staff on the other end. The web site and face book pages are not accessible to Deaf people nor promote Deaf services.
It is a concern that this style of tendering is becoming the “norm” for service providers. Without specialist support around them, Deaf people become invisible and without a voice. In Worcestershire, Deaf Direct provides this specialist service. We are fortunate that Worcester County Council work closely with us and consult with us to ensure that specialist support is in place for Deaf people in our local area. Despite the current financial climate, we are hopeful that this will continue.