by Paul Stemman
Head of Campaigns
I remember when we decided at SignHealth that we should campaign for better physical health, not just mental health. It was a big change. And, as I sat there, I tried to imagine what the charity might now do.
Should we start with diabetes or cancer? Did Deaf people experience particular kinds of physical health problem? It seemed obvious that we were going to have to do some research before we could answer such basic questions.
data at last
And last year, we eventually got the data and reports. We could now answer some of these important questions. And, thanks to the hundreds of Deaf people who took part, we had strong evidence which we could use to make change happen. Commissioners and doctors could no longer say there was no evidence. We had it.
Since then there has been a lot of progress.
spreading the word
SignHealth has been busy getting the message out there and working with NHS organizations. Perhaps the most satisfying thing is to see that the Sick Of It report now has a life of its own. We see it quoted in reports, documents and articles. It appears in local Healthwatch reports and medical journals. It is making a difference far beyond what we are doing.
break down the barriers
People who want to know about the health of Deaf people, and the terrible barriers that are faced, have a reliable report they can refer to. It is still early days. Now we have the evidence we must use it. We must make sure that the barriers come down and Deaf people have the same health chances as everyone else.
Now is our chance.