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Social Services: Hearing Impairment

Department of Health written question – answered on 15th February 2017.

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Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (International Affairs and Europe)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many (a) staff in social care settings and (b) people providing care in people's own home have received bespoke British sign language and deaf awareness training in the last five years.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (International Affairs and Europe)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many deaf people who have requested a British sign language interpreter at medical appointments have had their request fulfilled in the last five years.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (International Affairs and Europe)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether the NHS has a standard procedure for booking British sign language interpreters; whether that guidance is publicised to NHS staff; and whether such staff can use it confidentially.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (International Affairs and Europe)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many appointments have had to be postponed due to a British sign language interpreter (a) not being booked and (b) being unavailable in the last five years.

Photo of David Mowat David Mowat The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Information is not collected centrally on the number of fulfilled requests by patients for a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter; the number of appointments postponed where a BSL interpreter was not provided, or on the number of staff providing social care who have received bespoke BSL and deaf awareness training.

The Accessible Information Standard, which was formerly known as SCCI1605 Accessible Information, was published by NHS England in July 2015. It sets out a series of requirements that organisations that provide National Health Service care or publicly funded social care in England must follow. These include arranging for support to be provided by communication professionals, including BSL interpreters, where this is needed to support effective communication. The Standard also provides direction around appropriate qualification and professional registration status of communication professionals, including BSL interpreters, as well as providing other guidance in this regard. However, the Standard does not direct how such support should be arranged or funded, as this is a matter for local decision.

Compliance with the Standard is a legal duty and all organisations that provide NHS care, including general practice, or adult social care were required to implement the Standard in full by 31 July 2016, and then ensure ongoing compliance thereafter.

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