To understand the confusion and apprehension of a Deaf sign language user visiting the doctor, it’s helpful to imagine being in need of medical care while you’re on holiday.
It’s a country where you can make some conversation, but you don’t have the vocabulary to make the doctor understand, or to catch the diagnosis and details of treatment.
That means medical professionals are failing to understand their patients, and their patients don’t understand them. The result is poor diagnosis and poor treatment.
The Equality Act means that BSL/English interpreters should be provided, if that’s the way the Deaf patient would like to communicate.
Most Deaf patients have little confidence in their doctors.
Almost one in five Deaf patients have no confidence in their GP at all, and trust has broken down completely. They are nearly five times more likely than hearing patients to feel that way.