NHS: Hearing Impaired

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 20th July 2020.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department has made available for NHS staff who are D/deaf and rely on lip-reading, for whom guidance on face masks may be challenging.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

It is recognised that the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic can cause particular communication difficulties for d/Deaf staff and others who rely on lipreading and/or facial expressions for communication. Teams who work directly work with d/Deaf colleagues should be prioritised locally for the use of PPE which facilitates effective communication (including clear-fronted masks or hoods).

NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working to source clear face masks for those members of staff and clinicians who need them.

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