John Maidens, Managing Director of InterpreterNow, told listeners of Radio 4’s You and Yours how the power of the internet is being harnessed to give deaf people equal access to health services. John appeared in an item about the non-emergency NHS111 service, which deaf people can now access via the InterpreterNow website.
The service is being piloted in BSL for one year and, since the trial began, up to 20 deaf people have been calling each month. John Maidens explained that wider use of the internet and webcams is making services like this possible, improving on the text-type services familiar to many deaf people and allowing them to communicate in their first language.
You and Yours disability reporter, Carolyn Atkinson, spoke to Lisa Head who has used the service via her laptop. Lisa, who is pregnant with her third child, rang NHS11 for reassurance. She found it much easier to use than Typetalk as the app allowed her to speak to the adviser through a BSL interpreter.
“It makes it much easier for deaf people to access health information.
We’ve needed that for a long time.” Lisa Head
John Maidens told You and Yours that, via InterpreterNow, Leicestershire Police and Contact Scotland can also be contacted in BSL, giving deaf people greater access to essential services.
“It’s an absolutely wow service’ commented Lisa “It makes it much easier for deaf people to access health information. We’ve needed that for a long time and in our first language so that we can understand the information.”