The Victoria Derbyshire programme and the BDA highlight crisis of communication for Deaf people in hospitals
Deaf people are routinely being let down in hospitals through lack of language access, a Victoria Derbyshire exposé has today revealed.
The show, aired at 9am on Monday 11th June on BBC2, highlighted issues with video relay interpreting systems (VRIS) due to poor infrastructure, as well as cases of hospitals refusing or being unable to provide interpreters for Deaf people and their loved ones.
You watch the full interview below with BDA Chair Agnes Dyab (skip to 5:04)
The show spoke to one 29-year-old woman who has been in and out of hospital with lifelong heart and kidney problems. While she is Deaf, she states she has never been offered an interpreter or VRIS by any doctor in hospital, and instead has to rely on her mother. She has found this very difficult, and her mother is inappropriately placed in a position that should be occupied by a trained professional.
The Victoria Derbyshire producers also worked closely with the BDA to highlight many of the issues that we encounter daily.
The BDA’s national advocacy and information services have been called upon in many cases with heart-breaking circumstances. We often see cases of children being used as interpreters, and even family members having to tell the patient that they are going to die.
While relay services can often provide vital language access – especially in emergency situations – we also know that relay services in the UK are still vastly underfunded and unregulated, and are not appropriate in all circumstances.
There has been progress with the Accessible Information Standard in England and the BSL National Plan in Scotland in recent years, but provision is still woefully inconsistent. While hardworking staff have good intentions, low awareness of obligations and a lack of resilient systems mean that Deaf people are still being denied urgently needed access.
The BDA advocate for health trusts fully revising their access plans for Deaf patients in consultation with Deaf people to ensure that the system is fit for purpose.
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