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Found 17 results
  1. News Article
    The charity SignHealth has been awarded a national contract with NHS England to supply the mental health service Talking Therapies in British Sign Language. The new specialist service will help to support deaf people who are experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. This marks the first time NHS England have granted a national contract to a deaf specialist service and will hope to bridge the gap and tackle the health inequalities recognised after a recent freedom of information (FOI) request found that around 100 NHS trusts do not comply with accessible information standards (AIS). Prior to the contract, deaf people experiencing mental health related issues would have to rely on funding from their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to approve additional communication assistance on an individual basis. Waiting for approval of the funding for British Sign Language (BSL) therapy services meant that many deaf patients were having to wait considerably longer than their able hearing counterparts. Many CCGs do not grant additional funding and would not offer these kinds of services to deaf people, often resulting in ‘postcode lottery’. Dr Sarah Powell, Clinical Lead at SignHealth, said: "Deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety compared to hearing people. This is a serious and sometimes life-threatening health inequality. Therapy delivered in sign language has been proven to have higher recovery rates and we are delighted that this contract removes the funding barrier so that more Deaf people are able to access life-changing treatment." Read full story Source: NHE, 9 March 2022
  2. News Article
    NHS trusts across England are scrambling to trace thousands of children for urgent hearing tests amid fears that cases of infant deafness may have been missed for years. An internal NHS report has exposed poor-quality testing within paediatric audiology departments at five hospitals and warned of systemic failings. At another NHS trust, almost 1,500 children were found to have missed out on appointments dating back to 2012. Vital quality inspections of departments checking infants for hearing loss were stopped ten years ago. Whistleblowers who previously worked for the NHS’s newborn hearing screening programme have revealed that concerns were raised shortly before they were told to stop carrying out checks. They say that thousands of children may have been mistreated for deafness and hearing loss in the past decade. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 25 June 2023
  3. News Article
    The National Deaf Children’s Society has written to every NHS trust in England urging them to start using transparent face masks because standard ones create a “serious communication barrier” for deaf patients. The letters, co-signed by the British Academy of Audiology, said deaf patients could “miss vital information about their health” as opaque masks make lip reading impossible and facial expressions difficult to read. It is likely that face masks will remain widespread in the NHS, as new guidance issued at the start of June states they will still be required in a number of settings, including cancer wards and critical care units, and staff may wear them in other areas depending on personal preference and local risk assessments. Susan Daniels, the chief executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Transparent face masks are fully approved and they could transform the healthcare experience for deaf people. However they communicate, almost all deaf people rely on lip reading and facial expressions. Opaque face masks make these techniques much more difficult and this could seriously affect communication at a time when they might need it the most.” Three types of transparent masks, designed not to fog up, are now approved for use as PPE in healthcare settings, and although they are not currently available on the NHS supply chain, they can be bought direct from suppliers. The government previously delivered 250,000 clear masks to frontline NHS and social care workers in September 2020. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 June 2022
  4. Content Article
    Many people who usually go to their GP for ear wax removal have recently been told this service is no longer available on the NHS. As a result, they are now being advised to manage their own ear wax build-up or to seek ear wax removal from private providers. However, advice on self-management is inconsistent and sometimes dangerous, and the cost of private removal can make it unaffordable.  The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) wants to make sure everyone is offered clear advice on managing excess ear wax safely themselves and has access to professional removal on the NHS if self-management doesn’t work. This campaign page highlights research by RNID and outlines how people can get involved in the campaign by writing to their MP and local healthcare organisations.
  5. Content Article
    Communication barriers are the number one reason Deaf people have poorer health compared to hearing people. This blog by the organisation SignHealth gives 12 tips for healthcare workers and non-clinical staff on how to communicate with Deaf people. It also describes the difficulties Deaf people face when booking appointments and describes why remote consultations are problematic for Deaf people.
  6. Content Article
    This campaign by the independent statutory body Healthwatch aims to help make sure more people get healthcare information in the way they need it. Patients need clear, accessible information in order to make informed decisions about their health and care. The Accessible Information Standard gives disabled people and people with a sensory loss the legal right to get health and social care information they can understand and communications support if they need it. 'Your Care, Your Way' is asking whether the standard is being delivered by services, and whether it goes far enough. The campaign aims to: Find out how well health and care services are delivering the Accessible Information Standard. Make sure that, if the standard covers you, you know your rights. Find out who else has problems understanding information about their healthcare and needs to be covered by the standard.
  7. Content Article
    In this article, published in The Practising Midwife, Rachel Crowe argues that in the UK, pregnant women who are hearing impaired or D/deaf (sign language users) and deaf (who are hard of hearing but who have English as their first language and may lipread and/or use hearing aids) are often labelled as high risk and offered a care pathway that is unsuitable and detrimental to their care. Identifying the gaps in maternity that exist in current guidelines and practice can help midwives to ensure women get appropriate, high-quality woman-centred care. This article provides an overview to the needs of D/deaf birthing people with a number of recommendations and tools for use in clinical practice.
  8. Content Article
    The theme for this year’s World Health Day (7 April) is building a fairer and healthier world for everyone. Making sure all patients can access and understand healthcare information is absolutely key to this. In this interview, anaesthetist Rachael Grimaldi tells us about CardMedic, the organisation she founded to empower staff and patients to communicate across any barrier. Rachael explains how their tools can be used to support vulnerable groups and reduce inequalities. 
  9. Content Article
    In this blog, published by Jo's cervical cancer trust, we hear from two deaf women who have shared their experiences of a cervical screening (and colposcopy) appointment, as well as their top tips for others. 
  10. Content Article
    This study in Occupational Medicine examined the impact of the introduction of face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic on D/deaf healthcare professionals (HCPs). The study found that D/deaf HCPs felt left behind, isolated and frustrated by a lack of transparent masks and reasonable adjustments to meet their communication needs. This resulted in some leaving their roles, and loss of experienced, qualified HCPs has a significant economic and workforce impact, particularly during a pandemic. The authors call for urgent action to ensure D/deaf HCPs are provided with the workplace support required under the Equality Act (2010).
  11. News Article
    Coleen McSorley, who has been deaf from birth, was left upset and struggling to understand the details of her cancer diagnosis. Now one care centre is hoping to offer more support to others facing a similar challenge. Coleen was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2020. At the time, Covid restrictions meant she was unable to bring an interpreter or her hearing parents to hospital appointments. The 56-year-old said she was given wads of literature about her cancer - but like many people who have been deaf from birth, she struggles to read. "English is my second language after British Sign Language," said the cleaner, from Stirling. "At the hospital a big barrier was they were wearing too many masks. They were all talking at me but I didn't understand what they were saying, it was horrendous. "I felt frustrated because I wanted them to pull down their masks so I could try to lip read a little bit, but they wouldn't and it was very confusing." Coleen, who had stage three cancer, was treated with chemotherapy and had a mastectomy, found a local Maggie centre who supported her. Yvonne McIntosh, an oncology nurse and centre head at the Maggie's Forth Valley cancer care drop-in centre, says that even with an interpreter, a lot of information could be lost in translation. "A lot of sense and meaning is lost and things can land differently so they don't come across with the same context," she said. "When Coleen came to us she didn't know what the pills were that she was taking. "She didn't understand about her treatment and didn't know how her medication worked for her." Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 February 2022
  12. News Article
    Deaf people are twice as likely to suffer mental health problems than those with hearing, a report has found. The All Wales Deaf Mental Health and Wellbeing Group said help in Wales was behind the rest of the UK and it wants to see significant improvements. It also described the inequalities faced by deaf people trying to access mental health support as "really frustrating". The Welsh government said it would consider the findings of the report. Ffion Griffiths, 23, from Neath, has been deaf since birth, and accessing child and adolescent mental health services in Wales has been a problem over the years. She had to travel to England to get the support she needed. "It's really frustrating because deaf people in England have more opportunities," she said. It means they can be treated and get better quicker but for us, how can we do that?" "How can we expect to recover if we don't have access to the services or any pathways for us to follow to get the treatment that we need in Wales?" Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 December 2021
  13. News Article
    Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS FT has launched a deaf digital inclusion project, to find the best practice for communicating with deaf and deafblind patients. The project will look at the barriers faced by the patients around digital communications, and how to help the staff become more deaf aware. The deaf and deafblind patients supported by the trust, their carers, staff, and members of deaf wellbeing groups and networks, are taking part in the project to help provide the best digital communications support to meet deaf patients’ needs. The project is led by the trust’s deaf services team which provides a range of support to deaf and deafblind people aged 18 and over, who mainly use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate, who also have mental health problems. Emmanuel Chan, Clinical Nurse Specialist for the deaf services team, :explained: “People who are oral and require lip reading can find video appointments a challenge if others on the call are not fully deaf aware and talk over one another. Alongside our project, our team aims to help our staff become more deaf aware to avoid this happening.” Read full story Source: NHE, 26 April 2021
  14. News Article
    A woman is taking legal action against an NHS trust over the “diabolical” and discriminatory treatment of her profoundly deaf husband, who died of cancer in May last year. Susan Kelly, who is also deaf, is angry that her husband, Ronnie, was at no point during two hospital admissions and an outpatient appointment provided with a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. Instead, her hearing daughter, Annie Hadfield, was asked to translate his terminal diagnosis, when he was told to “get his affairs in order” and given between two weeks and two months to live, while his wife was left outside the room. He died just over two weeks later at home. Medical staff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS trust also placed a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order on Kelly, who had Alzheimer’s disease, during his first hospital admission in late April without either his consent or consulting his wife or daughter. His family found out only after their barrister obtained his hospital notes. Susan Kelly told the Observer through an interpreter: “I didn’t know what DNR meant. I had no idea. I was really shocked. They’d never asked me anything about it. That wasn’t right, it was wrong. Ronnie wouldn’t have known what it meant.” Annie Hadfield added: “I thought it was actually quite diabolical.” The trust is undertaking a review to understand what happened. David Hughes, medical director, said: “We do acknowledge that we have more to do to support patients and relatives who have hearing impairments and it is an area of work we are actively looking at to make improvements.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 March 2021
  15. Content Article
    A new toolkit to support GPs to deliver care for patients with hearing loss and aims to encourage deaf patients to access primary care, has been launched. The educational kit, developed by Royal College of GPs (RCGP) in collaboration with the UK’s largest hearing loss charity, RNID and NHS England and Improvement aims to support GPs to consult effectively with deaf patients by offering tips on how to communicate during face to face and remote appointments. It also offers guidelines on how to recognise early symptoms of hearing loss and how to refer patients for a hearing assessment. The project aims to support GPs implement the latest NICE Guidelines, NHS Accessibility Quality Standard and Guidance across the UK. Resources include an Essential Knowledge Update (EKU) Screencast, GPVTS Teaching Powerpoint, Podcasts, Hearing Friendly Practice Charter for your GP Surgery to sign up to, EKU Online E-learning Module, RCGP Accredited Deaf Awareness Online Course, Hearing Friendly Practice Animation Video and much more.
  16. Content Article
    The National Deaf Children's Society have produced resources to help others understand the impact that mask-wearing can have on the deaf community. Face masks with clear panels in them could help some deaf children who rely on lip-reading or sign language to get a better view of the face. This is not a solution that will suit all deaf people or be suitable in all situations but it will help prevent some people from feeling more isolated during the pandemic and enable them to understand what is happening with their their care if they are accessing healthcare services. Resources include:Infographic video with tips for communicating with deaf children when wearing a maskDIY tutorials for making masks with clear panelsBlog: The impact of face masks on deaf children.
  17. Content Article
    Primary care services are the front door to the NHS - they are the first port of call when we feel unwell and the main coordinator of care when we are living with health conditions. The primary care team have an important role in making people feel welcomed, listened to and taken seriously. Yet we often hear examples about people who have not had their communication needs met within primary care. This includes people with sensory impairments, people with learning disabilities, autistic people, people living with dementia, people who don’t speak English fluently, people with low or no literacy, people who are digitally excluded, people living nomadically, people experiencing homelessness and many others.   This report sets out the key issues faced by people with specific communication needs within primary care and what they feel would make the biggest difference, as well as key actions primary care leaders and teams can take to support inclusive communication. 
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