NHS England’s Accessible Information Standard has the potential to transform the way people who are deaf or have hearing loss access primary care. More action is needed to to make sure they benefit fully.
Read our survey results for Northern Ireland and Wales
Our research shows that people who are deaf or have hearing loss often struggle to use GP services when they need to. For example, our 2013 Access All Areas report shows that one in seven (14%) had missed an appointment because they didn’t hear their name being called in the waiting room.
In 2015, NHS England launched the Accessible Information Standard which sets out clearly how and why the NHS and adult social care services should meet the communication and information needs of people with disabilities and sensory loss, including people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
One year after the Standard became law in England, we launched a survey to see whether the Standard had led to any improvements in the way GP surgeries communicate with people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
Our results show that people who are deaf or have hearing loss are still experiencing major barriers:
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) feel unclear about the information they’ve been given at GP appointments, at least some of the time.
- More than half (52%) said doctors or nurses spoke too quickly – or didn’t check whether they’d been understood.
- More than half (57%) were unclear about their health advice because a sign language interpreter was unavailable.
- One-quarter (26%) said they ask other people to call their GP surgery on their behalf, although fewer than one in 12 (7%), want to have to do this.
- Two-fifths (43%) said staff at their GP surgery still let them know when it’s their turn to be seen, by calling their name.
That's why we’re calling on GP surgeries, NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to work together to make sure the requirements of the Standard are properly implemented and enforced.
If you’ve experienced poor care from your GP, we’ve produced a simple tool to help you to tell your GP surgery what went wrong, the impact that had, and the changes you’d like to see.
Find out more
- Read our survey results for Northern Ireland and Wales
- View our BSL Good Practice? report
- Download a Microsoft Word version of the Good Practice? report, for improved accessibility
- Download a longer version of Good Practice? report: this presents the full results of our survey for England and our recommendations for GPs, NHS services and government.