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Deaf patients deserve to have interpreters

During Deaf Awareness Week (May 7-13) we are highlighting the barriers facing patients who are deaf and calling on local health services to commission interpreting services that use only appropriately qualified sign language interpreters.

New research shows that 41% of surveyed people who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language have left a health appointment feeling confused about their medical condition, because the interpretation was not of an adequate standard.

A total of 68% said they have asked for an interpreter to be booked for a GP appointment, but did not get one.

People who are deaf have the legal right to experience the same level of service as other patients in the UK.

So, to avoid unnecessary confusion, anxiety or embarrassment, it is vital that they can access communication support best-suited to their needs.

To sign our petition calling for local health services to use only interpreters registered with the National Registers of Communications Professionals (NRCP), which shows that they meet the required standard for communicating essential medical information, please visit www. petitionbuzz.com/petitions/ deafaccess.

REBECCA GRIFFIN

Action on Hearing Loss

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