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Health access campaign priority for Senior Policy Adviser

Added 09 Apr 2014

Signature’s new Senior Policy Adviser, Dan Sumners, is looking forward to working with the Our Health in Your Hands campaign to improve access for deaf people.

The campaign has a single, clear aim: to make sure deaf people know health services should provide an interpreter when asked.

This is being achieved by making information available on the campaign website, including a card deaf people can hand to medical professionals. The group is also holding events across the country.

Dan attended his first meeting yesterday alongside representatives of Action on Hearing Loss, the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI) the British Deaf Association (BDA), the British Society for Mental Health and Deafness (BSMHD) and SignHealth.

Dan said: “I’d been looking forward to this meeting as access to health services is such an important issue. It’s also high on the agenda at the moment after SignHealth published Sick Of It.

“That report showed deaf people’s health is suffering due to lack of access. SignHealth estimates the cost to the NHS to be more than £30 million per year. And how much must be lost through deaf people not being able to work as a result?

“But there is reason to be optimistic. NHS England is working on a new standard for accessible information. That work’s led by Neil Churchill, Director of Patient Experience, who has a history of working in the third sector on health issues.

“And the new chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, recently said he’s serious about patient power and prevention. So we look forward to speaking to him about that and the planned cross-government action plan on hearing loss.

“Which means Our Health in Your Hands is happening at exactly the right time. By working together on a single, clear issue we can really help deaf people overcome one of the barriers they face in getting equal access.”