The Mayor of Camden, Councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli and Deputy Chair of the GLA Health Committee, Andrew Boff joined the Deaf community on 16 February for the BDA launch of the “Accessing Public Services: Issues for Deaf People” report.
Aimed at people living in the London boroughs of Merton, Newham, Southwark and Waltham Forest, the report focuses on key areas of improvement, including the use of interpreters, improving deaf awareness, as well as providing more accessible written documents for British Sign Language users.
Despite the enormous strides made in the last few years, Deaf people are still behind in terms of full access.
Andrew Boff, chair of last year’s review of Access to Health Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, was staggered by the lack of access, assuming it was “automatically provided”.
Boff admitted that he was only aware of the huge barriers to access Deaf people faced after the BDA had alerted him to it. He previously told British Deaf News: “I felt ashamed that, as an elected politician I knew so little about the challenges that Deaf people face.”
On the back of BDA’s report, he urged Deaf people to complain and draw attention to the lack of access they face.
“The Equality Act 2010 has not worked for Deaf people,” said BDA Chair, Dr Terry Riley OBE, who pointed out that Hearing Dogs get a mention in the Act – but British Sign Language does not.
Dr Riley said the BDA’s report was the first step in attaining equal access for Deaf users. He encouraged the Deaf community to raise awareness of these issues with their local service providers.
Photo – from left to right: Paul Redfern – BDA Business Development Manager, Dr Terry Riley OBE – BDA Chair, Mayor of Camden – Councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli, Graham Welton – BDA Community Development Officer and Andrew Boff – London Assembly Member.