Give Deaf patients access to appropriately qualified sign language interpreters in healthcare services in the UK
Deaf people are routinely being put in danger by healthcare providers due to a lack of regard for standards in communication. We the undersigned are calling on those commissioning healthcare services to ensure that robust procedures are in place for providing appropriately qualified sign language interpreters for Deaf patients.
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. 68% of respondents said they have asked for an interpreter to be booked for a GP appointment but did not get one.
Clear communication of information between patients and healthcare professionals can be a matter of life or death – it's essential that both parties can leave healthcare appointments or consultations 100% confident that important medical information has been communicated clearly.
We the undersigned are calling on the commissioners of our local healthcare services to:
- Ensure that the interpreters they provide are registered with the National Registers of Communications Professionals (NRCPD).
- Ensure that robust procedures are in place for providing Registered Sign Language Interpreters for Deaf patients, including out of hours.
- Ensure that primary care providers have protocols in place to undertake an ID check of interpreters, on arrival at bookings, to confirm registration status.
Research carried out by
Action on Hearing Loss, ASLI (Association of Sign Language Interpreters), NRCPD (National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People), BDA (British Deaf Association), SignHealth, Signature, BSMHD (British Society for Mental Health and Deafness).