Senior A&E doctors from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital recently read our Sick Of It report, causing them to question their access and engagement with Deaf patients.
Realising there was room for improvement, Dr Danny Sharpe invited two SignHealth staff to his hospital, to explain the complications and barriers Deaf people face in the NHS.
- Face to face communication
- Clear speech
- The importance of matching a patient’s needs, whether that is booking an interpreter, lip speaker or note taker
We also informed the doctors about online interpreting through InterpreterNow.
One asked, “Can we use family members to interpret?”
We explained the complications of doing so. Family members are not qualified, nor aware of medical jargon and signs. Family and friends are also emotionally involved with a patient, and are at high risk of misinterpreting English into BSL and vice versa, thus delaying diagnoses and treatment, perhaps even resulting in incorrect care.[clear-line]
Our visit was enormously successful, with 12 senior doctors learning first hand from Deaf people how communication can cause huge medical and emotional barriers.
1 year on….
On March 25th, we celebrated the 1 year anniversary of the Sick Of It report, and all the changes we have so far noted.
We also caught up with Dr Danny Sharpe, the emergency medicine registrar who invited us to Chelsea and Westminster in November 2014, and were delighted to see how his Deaf awareness has improved. See for yourself below.