575,500 people are deaf or have hearing loss in Wales – that’s equivalent to the populations of Cardiff and Swansea combined.
In 2013, the Welsh Government launched the All Wales Standards for Accessible Communication and Information for People with Sensory Loss (The Standards), clearly laying out how NHS services would be delivered accessibly to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, partially sighted or have dual sensory loss.
Since then, we’ve undoubtedly seen some progress. In late 2017, the Sensory Loss Information Standard was introduced, meaning that all GP surgeries in Wales now have the technology to record the communication needs of patients with sensory loss – and their requirements.
But four years since The Standards were introduced, we’ve discovered there’s a long way to go before patients get the increased accessibility they were promised. Our survey found that, in Wales:
- More than half (54%) of people still leave their GP surgery unclear about their diagnosis or how to take their medication.
- Almost half (42%) of Deaf BSL users say communication at their appointments isn’t adequate because they don’t have an interpreter.
- More than a third (36%) of survey respondents have to travel to their GP surgery to book an appointment in person, as they can’t use the phone
- More than a quarter (29%) of people surveyed said that they have to ask a family member, friend or support worker to call their GP surgery on their behalf.
That's why we’re calling on GP surgeries, NHS Wales, local health boards and the Welsh Government to work together to make sure the requirements of the Standards are properly implemented and enforced.
We all want to support GP surgeries to improve their practice, so we’ve produced a simple tool to help you tell yours what’s not right, the impact that has, and the simple changes you’d like to see.
If, after giving feedback to your GP surgery, you’re still not getting the accessibility you’re entitled to, you can complain to your local health board using the relevant details below.
|Health board||Postal address|| Facebook
|Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Boardfirstname.lastname@example.org||Chief Executive
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
1 Talbot Gateway
Baglan Energy Park
|Aneurin Bevan Health Board||Puttingthingsright.ABHB@wales.nhs.uk||Chief Executive
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
St Cadoc’s Hospital
|Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board||ConcernsTeam.email@example.com||The Concerns Team
|Cardiff and Vale University Health Boardfirstname.lastname@example.org||Chief Executive, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Headquarters
University Hospital of Wales (UHW)
|Cwm Taf Health Board||CTHB_Concerns@wales.nhs.uk||Chief Executive
Cwm Taf Health Board
|Hywel Dda Health Boardemail@example.com||Freepost RTJR-ZKJG-JZTC
Patient Support Services
Hywel Dda University Health Board
|Powys Teaching Health Board||concerns.qualityandsafety.POW@wales.nhs.uk||Chief Executive
Powys Teaching Health Board