Steve Powell, Chief Executive of the Deaf health charity SignHealth, and Paul Stemman, Head of Policies and Campaigns, gives an update on the Information Standard.
Paul Stemman explains. “We have a rare opportunity to make the NHS more accessible. Nearly 70 years after its creation, there is a real chance that NHS services will finally be accessible for D/deaf people. SignHealth is doing all it can to make sure this opportunity is not missed.
NHS England is currently consulting on a draft Information Standard (explained in BSL below). This says what providers of NHS services must do to make information accessible for a range of people.
This doesn’t mean putting information into BSL only. It also means face-to-face communication must be improved, for example, how staff communicate with Deaf people. If agreed, all NHS patients in England will be asked about their communication choices, and then this will have to be recorded.
“We have been leading on behalf of UKCOD, and other parts of the Deaf community, to ensure the new Information Standard meets the needs of D/deaf people. We have already run some consultation meetings for NHS England, and two more will take place this month,” explains says Steve Powell, SignHealth’s Chief Executive.
The consultation ends on 9th November. The next consultation events are being held by SignHealth in Bristol on 22nd September (1.30-4pm and 6-8.30pm) at Action for Blind People, 10 Stillhouse Lane, Bedminster, Bristol, BS34EB. Please come along and give your feedback.
As the Deaf health charity, we are committed to working with others.
When deaf organisations and the Deaf community come together, we can be far more powerful.
“We’ve waited a long time for the NHS to think about access for D/deaf people. At long last we have a real chance for a massive change in the way services are delivered. That’s why I hope as many Deaf people as possible respond to this consultation. Whatever your view, have your say,” urges Steve.