Lianne Herbert: A system is needed for D/deaf patients in NHS buildings

Posted on December 2, 2017

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Hospitals. Love them or loathe them? They’re a bit like Marmite.

Recently I attended a hospital appointment and already I was a little bit anxious. Why? Because I was going on my own. I didn’t have someone with better hearing than me to be able to tell me my name has been called.

This means I get tired easily waiting to hear the right sounds. More so when the appointments are running late. It was during this wait that I thought about how access could be improved.

Why don’t the NHS sites have a buzzer type system that goes off when your name is called?

This is because background noises can mingle with the person calling your name. Especially the clacking sound of heels on hard floors.

This buzzer type system has already been implemented in The Trinity Kitchen in Leeds for the food outlets for both D/deaf and hearing people so how come the NHS haven’t rolled out more D/deaf user friendly ways for their patients?

It costs the NHS money for missed appointments which is why many send reminder texts before the appointments are due. Reminders to phones when on site isn’t always possible as mobile signals can drop.

That’s why something other than a screen showing your name is needed I believe. This is because access to the screen may be in limited areas of the waiting room.

Also, ironically, many staff members are not deaf aware in places like the Audiology department and say your name in a near whisper.

I am aware it will cost money but if Theresa May has the ‘magic money tree’ which she has already used for the one billion pounds coalition with the DUP then surely there’s some spare for the NHS?

I’m sure a buzzer type system would encourage D/deaf People to be more independent if they know they can go on their own to an NHS building for an appointment. Or simply give these patients more confidence knowing their access needs are met when their name is called. What do you think?

Lianne Herbert is a deaf professional writer who can be followed on Twitter here. Lianne is also on a Copywriting course to enhance her freelance prospects. She is currently involved with the West Yorkshire Playhouse on a Playwright course.

The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. 

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