Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals have both introduced Sign Live, the video interpreting services, into their Emergency Departments.
This means that deaf patients who are attending for an emergency can get access to communication in BSL immediately during Sign Live’s opening hours.
Sign Live will be rolled out to other departments soon and deaf patients can also contact the hospitals direct using the Sign Live Community Directory app. CDA has donated two Apple iPads to be used in the hospitals for deaf people to use Sign Live.
The move represents a success for CDA’s Health Campaign. The campaign began in 2015 and has seen many local deaf people give their stories about access to health in a report undertaken by Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. You can read more about all our work on health here.
CDA has also, as part of the TotalVoice Independent Advocacy Service, been working with deaf people to raise complaints about their experiences.
Andy Palmer, Managing Director of Cambridgeshire Deaf Association said:
“We’re absolutely delighted that North West Anglia Hosptials NHS Foundation Trust have commissioned Sign Live.
“It is a massive improvement in access to emergency healthcare for local deaf people and should go a long way to addressing the issues that our members have raised time and time again.
“Video relay interpreting doesn’t replace face-to-face interpreting and the hospitals have committed to continuing to arrange interpreters for appointments. But for emergencies finding interpreters quickly is always a challenge and Sign Live helps to plug that gap.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Maria Finch and Simon Howard from the NHS who have both worked very hard to implement this project. Also, I want to pay tribute to all the local deaf people who have shared their stories and experiences and came along to meetings to help make this happen.
“A special mention is due to the team at Healthwatch who have been committed to equality of access to information and spent much time and resource on getting the ‘Accessible Information as Standard‘ report published and the meetings that followed.
“It shows what can happen when different organisations work together for the common good and when deaf people have a strong local association to fight their corner.”