Following a shocking report on the health of deaf people, which was released last week by the Deaf health charity SignHealth, there will be a debate in the House of Lords today.
The debate will look at ways of improving the health of deaf people. SignHealth’s Sick Of It report shows that Deaf people have much higher rates of undiagnosed illness than hearing people do, and that even when a condition has been diagnosed it is likely to be poorly treated.
The reasons are a failure to supply sign language interpreters for consultations, diﬃculty getting an appointment in the ﬁrst place, and a lack of accessible health information.
The Health Minister, Lord Howe, says Sick Of It is “immensely powerful”, and that, “it’s ﬁndings are very sobering … in fact, some of them I found very shocking”.
“There is no good reason why Deaf people should be twice as likely as hearing people to have undiagnosed high blood pressure; or why they should be more likely to have other undiagnosed conditions. That fewer than 15% of Deaf people say that their GP is good at listening to them, is something that concerns me very deeply.”
Lord Howe admits, “I can also assure you that the government recognises that a lot more needs to be done.”
The Labour Peer, Lord Hunt, the shadow spokesperson on health in the Lords, says the government “need to pull their ﬁngers out, and get on with it and start to do something”. He believes that Monday’s debate will be “a great opportunity to raise the issues in the report, and to ask the Government what they are going to do about it”.
“It’s impossible to read this report and not feel shocked that the health service is systematically failing a section of our community like this,” says SignHealth’s Director of Communications, Paul Welsh. “Putting it right is not an expensive, or particularly diﬃcult task. We’ve set out Prescriptions For Change in our report and they are simple. At the moment, the NHS is wasting £30m a year by missing diagnoses and failing to provide eﬀective treatment.”
The Question for Short Debate, “on measures to be taken to improve the health of deaf people”, has been tabled by Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede. It will take place at 7.30pm tonight.
Read the Sick of it report by clicking here.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out the benefits of live captioning at university!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- BSL Zone: TV programmes in BSL for the Deaf community
- Stellar Communications: Speech-to-Text services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Helen Foulkes Translations: BSL translations
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Hearing Choices: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children