Deaf people have always struggled with access to the NHS. The barriers to access can take many forms, whether it be needing an interpreter to talk to a doctor, or just making sense of the NHS leaflets and website information.
The introduction of the Accessible Information Specification, has provided NHS trusts with guidelines on how to meet the needs of their local Deaf community. Targeted to meet the minimum standards of the specification by July 2016, trusts have already implemented vital changes to improve how patients access the NHS services. However, the specification details further measures such as ensuring all patient information is available in the patient’s first or preferred language and that they are empowered to communicate instantly, to cover any emergency communication requirements.
At last technology has the answer, thanks to one of the most well-respected interpretation communication services in the UK. Sign Solutions has worked tirelessly to make public and private sector organisations accessible, and as a result, has developed an innovative online, instant video Interpreting system, InterpretersLive!
For the NHS, the video interpreting system enables profoundly Deaf patients to have instant access to a clinician in person at the trust or over the phone, through a registered and qualified British Sign Language Interpreter. This allows vital information to be communicated simply, easily and on demand 24/7. The system essentially removes the communication barriers for deaf people, by giving them the freedom and independence to communicate with and access the services provided by their local NHS trust.
Sean Nicholson, CEO of Sign Solutions, said, “The NHS’ aim is great for the country as a whole, yet it is obviously extremely difficult for all departments to meet these objectives as it takes a lot of research, planning and implementation. Our solution is designed differently and very much tailored to the organisation we are working with, but taking their audience into consideration first and foremost.”
The Accessible Information Specification was released in 2015 and is designed to allow full access for everyone – no matter what their disability, impairment or sensory loss. However this is difficult to implement organisation-wide with so many departments and divisions of the NHS. But InterpretersLive! can be used to help the NHS meet its targets.
The Accessible Information Specification is designed to take a specific yet consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents. It is applied right across the NHS and the adult social care system and has required the organisation to make a number of changes to policy, procedure, human behaviour, and, where applicable, electronic systems.
The standard defines the steps that NHS organisations need to take in order to make 'reasonable adjustments' under the equality Act 2010. An effective implementation of the said standard will lead to a number of benefits, including improved outcomes, heightened experiences, and the provision of safer and more personalised care and services to those individuals who find themselves within the Standard’s scope.
InterpretersLive! uses existing computers/tablets and can even make use of existing packages such as Microsoft Lync and the company’s free app, in order to obtain a qualified and registered BSL interpreter on demand for emergency in patient consultations or via the trusts website to enable patients to make calls from home.
Watch how to use the InterpretersLive! video interpreting service click here!
As well as the introduction of InterpretersLive! video interpreting at the trust, Sign Solutions, can also offer translation of leaflets and letters for Deaf patients as well as face to face provision of Interpreters for planned appointments.
At Sign Solutions we are dedicated to making the world accessible for Deaf people to ensure they are able to full participate and possess all the knowledge needed to make informed decisions. We assist trusts in developing their systems and staff knowledge through Deaf Awareness training, so that the patient has a more fulfilling experience.
The introduction of the aforementioned services brings the NHS closer to meeting the Accessible Information specification requirements and further increases the accessibility rating of their website
Sign Solutions has over 20 years of experience working within the language industry. The company was launched as the first independent British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreting agency and has since cemented itself as an industry leader.
Clare Vale MD Sign Solutions
07917 045 518