When we were contacted by Westlands Medical Centre in Porchester asking us to provide a Deaf Awareness and British Sign Language session for their team, we recognised the importance of this training. Deaf people to not have access to ‘overheard’ health information and face numerous barriers when visting the GP, and receiving a diagnosis and treatment. This results in significantly higher incidences of high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health problems, and ultimately shorter life expectancy for Deaf people.
In 2 condensed sessions Kathleen and Paul shared findings for Sign Health’s ‘Sick of It’ report, discussed ways to improve communication with D/deaf patients, and taught the receptionists, nurses and GPs fingerspelling and key phrases when greeting a D/deaf patient.
The aim was not to replace interpreters but to emphasise the need for them and to make to Westlands practice more welcoming and accessible to D/deaf patients. We hope other practices will follow their lead.