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22nd March 2012

Fairer opportunities in healthcare for Deaf people needed

A report published in the medical journal The Lancet last week claims Deaf people are not given a fair opportunity in healthcare.

Dr Andrew Alexander, who co-wrote the article with Dr Paddy Ladd of Bristol University and SignHealth chief Steve Powell, explained in the article titled 'Deafness might damage your health', how Deaf people are not given fair access to communication in hospitals and surgeries.

Poor communication could lead to medical error. The co-authors said written communication between Deaf patients and doctors is often "unsatisfactory" as a number of Deaf people have difficulties understanding medical terms.

They concluded a qualified interpreter should be present in a consultation between a Deaf patient and their doctor to enable better two-way communication.

The co-authors said doctors have a responsibility to make sure Deaf patients are given the right communication support and encourage them to realise that communication is a two-way process.

The report has been translated into BSL. Click here to check out the BSL video.

To view more Deaf news click here

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