We welcome the Scottish Government’s first ever British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan which puts Scotland at the forefront as the first country in the United Kingdom aiming to provide opportunities for people to learn about Deaf Culture and enable people who are Deaf to have improved access to services delivered by more than 50 national public bodies.
Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government’s BSL National Plan is a massive development for the 13,000 people in Scotland who use BSL in their homes, want to be able to participate equally in Scottish society and have increased opportunities to learn about and share their Deaf Culture.
“We hope the Plan will be a starting point in removing the communication barriers which affect the everyday lives of people who are Deaf in Scotland and ensure that vital services become fully accessible for BSL users.
“Many people who use Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s specialist transitions, employment and social security advocacy services often tell us about their communication needs not being met as British Sign Language interpreters have not been provided when they’ve been looking for support at jobcentres or during health appointments, so hopefully, the National Plan will raise much-needed deaf awareness and provide the stimulus for more frontline public service staff to be trained in how to communicate in BSL.”
Action on Hearing Loss Scotland is encouraging people who are Deaf to do the charity’s BSL interpreted ‘Access to Health Services’ survey at www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/access