BDA NI welcomes the Health and Social Care Board’s recent decision to remodel the current system for providing British Sign Language and Irish Sign Language interpreters for Health and Social Care.
BDA NI facilitated nine consultation meetings, across Northern Ireland, on the Health and Social Care Board’s Regional Review of Communication Support Services for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Deaf people and people who are hard of hearing provided direct input into this consultation process sharing their views and opinions on how their services should be delivered in the future. The BDA compiled this consultation feedback into a report that was submitted to the Health and Social Care Board.
At a recent public meeting of the Health and Social Care Board, Board members approved the recommendations from the Consultation on the Regional Review of Communication Support Services for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. One recommendation being taken forward is the establishment of a central service for interpreter bookings providing consistent support across all Health and Social Care Trust areas. It has also been recommended that a NI-wide advisory group, involving Deaf users, relevant organisations and stakeholders be set up to oversee the development and delivery of interpreting services.
Damian Barry, BDA Director of Community Development and Operations, stated:
“This is a significant step forward to moving away from the post-code lottery that we have whereby a Deaf person living in one Trust area gets an interpreter for specific health appointments but another person from another HSCT area may not. Time and time again our staff support Deaf people who are anxious about their medical conditions. This important support role ensures patients are better informed; informed patients are better able to take responsibility for their own conditions.”
Since its establishment in 1997, BDA NI has consistently campaigned for equality and parity in accessing interpreter provision for health and medical appointments. Client case studies and feedback show there is wide disparity in services across Northern Ireland with variations of access provision ranging from the excellent to the non-existent.
If anyone has any queries regarding the forthcoming plans, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org