People who are deaf or who have hearing loss often face costly – and unnecessary – barriers to communication when they visit the GP or other NHS services. Despite legal protection from the Equality Act (and the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland), the way in which GPs and other NHS services go about meeting the communication needs of people who are deaf or have hearing loss varies significantly across the UK.
Forcing people to use the phone or failing to provide communication support may lead to missed appointments and ineffective care – and frustration all round. NHS England estimates that missed appointments for people with all levels of hearing loss costs the NHS at least £14 million every year.
To make sure people who are deaf or have hearing loss are able to access health care in the same way as everyone else, we’re calling on government, NHS organisations, GPs and other NHS services to take action to meet the requirements of Equality legislation – and standards for accessible information and communication.
We’ll update this page regularly to let you know what action you can take to make sure GPs and other NHS services are accessible for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
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