Leading health experts from across the Country will meet in Manchester on Wednesday 11th March, to share research and best practice into the difficulties Deaf people face accessing health services.
They will hear ground-breaking research into the effect that poor access has on the health of individuals, and look at efforts which are being made to improve access.
The conference has been organised by Deaf Health Champions, a North West programme which empowers deaf people to lead improvements in health services. It will be attended by NHS officials, senior medical professionals, researchers, Healthwatch leaders and community volunteers.
Speakers will include Professor Dame Sue Bailey, the vice-chair of the Academy of Medical Colleges, Giles Wilmore, the Director of Patient and Public Voice and Information at NHS England, and Dave Nunns, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Wigan.
Delegates will also hear from Deaf volunteers from Aintree Hospital Trust and Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group, who are actively transforming deaf health and good practice.
“Deaf people, particularly Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users, are systematically excluded from health and social care decisions because of barriers to communication within the sector. They typically have much poorer physical and mental health than most hearing people”, says Deaf Health Champions Project Director, Jo Slater.
“We hope this conference will draw attention to these problems. We want to highlight the value of truly engaging deaf people in decision making and the positive changes health professionals can easily make”.
The Medical Director of the Deaf Health Charity SignHealth, Andrew Alexander, will introduce the world’s first large-scale study comparing the health of Deaf and hearing people.
The Sick Of It report shows that Deaf people are twice as likely to have some undiagnosed, potentially life-threatening health conditions. Poor access and communication problems are the major causes.
The Deaf Health Champions programme is funded by the Department of Health’s Volunteering Fund. It is a partnership of the UK Council on Deafness, The Deaf Health Charity SignHealth, Manchester Deaf Centre, Merseyside Society for Deaf People and Deaf Vision Cumbria.
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