Communication provision for people with hearing loss safeguarded

Action_on_Hearing_LossNHS England (Merseyside) have demonstrated their commitment to safeguarding vital provision for patients with hearing loss within the new NHS structure, by awarding a communication support contract to specialist suppliers, the charity Action on Hearing Loss.

Action on Hearing Loss’s dedicated 24/7 communication support service  will provide essential sign language interpreters, deafblind interpreters, lipspeakers and notetakers for people with hearing loss who attend GP appointments in Liverpool, Sefton, Knowlsey, Halton and St Helens.

All communications professionals provided through Action on Hearing Loss are registered with The National Registers for Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD), which guarantees they have achieved recognised qualifications in their discipline and work to strict professional codes of practice.

Kim Thompson for Action on Hearing Loss’s Communication Services Team, says: “Communication support is a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010, and we would urge NHS commissioners across England to follow Merseyside’s lead in retaining this vital support for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing. We look forward exceeding the expectations of patients who are deaf or hard of hearing with our communication support services in Merseyside”.

Gaynor Hales, Director of Nursing and Quality for NHS England (Merseyside) says  “NHS England (Merseyside) is committed to ensuring quality services to patients across Merseyside to ensure that people have a positive experience when accessing health services.  It is essential that there is clear communication between patients and health professionals, so that vital medical information is conveyed without any confusion.  By providing an appropriately qualified communication professional for appointments we can ensure that our patients are able to make informed choices regarding their care”.

Under the contract Action on Hearing Loss can take referrals for communication support in GP appointments from medical staff or patients between 9 and 5pm on  0845 685 8001 (telephone), 0845 685 8002 (textphone) or 07537 410 086 (SMS), or on  communication.services@hearingloss.org.uk . After 5pm medical staff can make the bookings for patients through Action on Hearing Loss’s dedicated 24/7 service.

Action on Hearing Loss is the charity working for a world where hearing loss doesn’t limit or label people, where tinnitus is silenced – and where people value and look after their hearing.

For further information about Action on Hearing Loss or to become a member, visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk, contact the Action on Hearing Loss Information Line on 0808 808 0123 (freephone) or 0808 808 9000 (textphone) or email: informationline@hearingloss.org.uk

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