99% of Friday’s conversations started with “What’s this?” and an inquisitive finger pointing at our giant yellow SICK OF IT logo. Stood at our SignHealth stand between Challenge North Staffs who support people suffering from Hate Crime, and opposite Sign Lingual, a Deaf awareness charity that provides BSL courses, was our signing team, explaining Sick Of It and the services we provide.
Our conversation went one of three ways.
Conversation one, in BSL or using English so people who wanted to could lipread, was with D/deaf people who hadn’t experienced good health care. Sadly, we’d heard it all before: Doctors who refused to book interpreters, GP receptionists who knew their surgery had a textphone but embarrassingly admitted it was kept upstairs (in a box, switched off), and audiology staff who repeatedly forgot to maintain face to face communication which made lip reading reading nigh on impossible. We even spoke to parents whose children had been asked to interpret in medical situations (which thankfully, the parents had refused).
However, conversation three was the most uplifting. Compared to our recent conversations with people at Deaf Day at City Lit, the Deaf people who spoke to us at DEAFvibe’s See Me, Hear Me event were thoroughly satisfied with their doctor’s capability (and understanding) of booking interpreters. For those who had friends and family members who did not receive such equality, they listened carefully and took our Prescriptions for Change to pass on.
We still have a long way to go, but finally it looks like those involved in the medical profession are starting to make change.