In September 2018 Healthwatch Officer Dr Becky Calcraft attended a masterclass ‘Involving with the Deaf Community’, hosted by the East Midlands Academic Health Sciences Network (EMAHSN). Notes from this class, which was run by a consultant from the British Deaf Association, were shared with Healthwatch Northamptonshire colleagues.
In October 2018 HWN volunteer Sandra Bell gained recognition through a national award at the Healthwatch Network Conference for her work in drawing attention to the issues deaf and hard of hearing people can face in accessing healthcare services, including sharing a powerful ‘patient story’ from August 2017.
As a result of her efforts, including the involvement of NHS England, the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has committed to improve the training of staff and provide online or face to face British Sign Language (BSL) translators when requested. However, we are aware that the issues are ongoing and patients who are deaf or hard of hearing are still experiencing difficulties. HWN has asked Nene and Corby CCGs for assurances that BSL interpreting services are provided for deaf patients who require them. The CCG Deputy Director of Quality has asked the county’s three NHS trusts for details about their BSL interpretation services at their quality monitoring meetings and will be updating us on their responses.