We have exciting news!

We have been awarded some funding to run a new free health advocacy service! This service is for young deaf people between the ages of 17 and 30 who live in, or around the Wakefield area.

Deaf people have more barriers to accessing health services than hearing people. They are less likely to be able to communicate during consultations and are less likely to be able to understand health information than hearing people.

The move to online communication, telephone consultations, restrictions on accessing GP surgeries including having to use intercom/telephone to gain access and wearing face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for deaf people.

A high percentage of deaf people use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language and therefore may find any communication in written or spoken English difficult. A recent study found that BSL interpreters were not often booked for consultations.

The lack of adequate communication means that often deaf people have health conditions that are either undiagnosed or not properly managed. A recent study found that some deaf people are unaware of why they are taking medications and have reported taking incorrect doses.

Many deaf people report feeling excluded and marginalised by the health care system and find barriers at every step preventing them from taking control of their health.

The aim of our project is to provide young deaf people with the support they need to be able to fully access healthcare services. We will support them to ensure that appointments are booked, an interpreter is provided if necessary and that they fully understand any information that is provided during the appointment.

As well as identifying new health complaints, we also believe this service will help to prevent any pre-existing health conditions from getting worse due to a lack of adequate communication.

We are also able to speak directly to GP surgery managers and health practitioners to explain barriers for deaf people in accessing healthcare and offer support to identify reasonable adjustments. This can be done via Zoom or telephone call.

If you would like to refer yourself or someone else to the project or to find out more please email us.