New communication cards for patients who are deaf British sign language users in
Gloucestershire are going down so well, there are now calls from deaf people across
England and Wales for the cards to be made available elsewhere in the UK with nearly 1800 people signing a petition calling for their use.
Local deaf charity, Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA), have been working in
partnership with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to create the cards for deaf patients, whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL). The purpose of the wallet-sized plastic cards is to help identify patients immediately as deaf and that there is a need for communications support. It also includes the 24-hour-a-day contact details for GDA, so that medical staff know how to book a BSL interpreter.
Although initially introduced for hospital appointments only, the cards are making such an impact that Gloucestershire Care Services and the 2Gether Trust have also come on board.
The Deaf communication cards are the result of close liaison between Gloucestershire
Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the local Deaf Community, supported by GDA. There
is clear evidence which shows that deaf patients are often unable to access clinical
services and take part in health consultations in a way hearing people often take for
granted. Studies have shown this ‘inadvertent negligence’ leads to poorer health
outcomes. (source: SignHealth ‘Sick of It’ 2014 report)
GDA’s Chief Executive, Jenny Hopkins said “We are enormously grateful to
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for putting their trust in deaf patients to know what works for them. Initial objections to the cards centred around the idea that an ID card somehow stigmatises the deaf patient, but this is a hearing person’s false perception.
Deaf people feel no stigma about being deaf. However, because it is so easy mistake
deafness for other conditions, including dementia or learning difficulties, it is critical that in a medical situation particularly, it is recognised immediately and communication support is put in place promptly.”
GDA’s social media pages letting deaf people know about the deaf communication cards attracted more than 10,000 responses in 24 hours. GDA is now campaigning for NHS England and NHS Improvement to ask all commissioners and providers to introduce similar cards within their areas.
Sign the petition here.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about 5 funny ways to use captions!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- 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
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- 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
- Ozen: 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
- 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