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Archive for June, 2016

24 JunCall for nationwide public health campaign

We have today sent a briefing to MPs calling for the Government to work towards a nationwide public health campaign on deafness and hearing loss.

We have prepared the briefing for the Parliamentary debate next week on the NHS Action Plan on Hearing Loss [PDF] and the adult hearing service commissioning framework

The debate was called by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness. It is at 3pm on Thursday 30 June in Westminster Hall.

Jim Edwards, chair of the UK Council on Deafness, said: “After much discussion with our members, we are agreed a nationwide public health campaign is in all our interests.

“The idea was first suggested by the common purpose awareness mission group. It was then endorsed by the common purpose steering group, our Board, the Hearing Loss and Deafness Alliance, and our members who regularly attend APPG meetings.

“The common thread in all the things we are working on is the need for greater awareness. The public needs a better understanding of the impact of deafness and hearing loss. People who are deaf or have a hearing loss need better awareness of the services and other support available to them, and their rights. Hearing people need better awareness of how to protect their hearing and what to do if they start to experience a hearing loss. And government needs a better understanding of the impact of its policies on people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.

“A campaign will encourage people to take control of their life by having their hearing tested by their GP or provider of audiology services. It will urge them not to let deafness and hearing loss become a barrier to them being involved in education, employment, politics, community activity – all elements of society.

“And all our members will be able to use the campaign as a springboard, whether they are focused on increasing the number of lipspeaking classes, equal access for sign language users, or helping more deaf young people benefit from cochlear implants.

“We know there are challenges ahead. Public health budgets have been devolved and there are many competing health priorities. But the number of people who are deaf or have a hearing loss is in the millions and constantly rising. The NHS England Action Plan on Hearing Loss recognises the enormous personal, social and economic impact of untreated hearing loss. And The Ear Foundation estimates that economic cost to be £30bn a year.

“So if we stay committed to our common purpose and work together, it’s definitely something we can achieve.”

Download the briefing [RTF]

17 JunNew video launched to raise awareness of NGT

A short video called ‘Introducing Next Generation Text’ has been created with the support of the National Deaf Children’s Society and is being widely promoted amongst the younger Deaf Communities to help them find out more about the Next Generation Text (NGT) service. It highlights the benefits of NGT and demonstrates how relevant and easy the Service is to use – click here to take a look at the video.

17 JunSurvey on how you use the telephone

UKCoD through its subgroup DAC (Deaf Access to Communications) and alongside its member organizations is carrying out a survey to assess how deaf people are using the telephone.  In particular we are interested in how deaf consumers are getting on with the Next Generation Text Relay service which was launched in October 2014 or if not, what help or alternatives could be considered.

The survey originated from NADP (the National Association of Deafened People) whose membership is a subgroup of the deaf population and it has therefore been expanded to include all types of deafness, with input from Sense, NDCS, Action on Hearing Loss, Hearing Link along with Ofcom and BT.

The survey is only available online using the link

We really need as many deaf people as possible to complete the survey to help provide evidence of whether or not further improvements need to be made to telecommunication services for deaf people, how successful NGTS has been and if there are any particular areas of the deaf population which are or are not making use of these services. Please spread the word.

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to provide paper copies of the survey. However if you do know deaf people who are not online but do use the telephone or would if the appropriate service was available then please feel free to complete the survey on their behalf either directly or offering a print out of the survey for them to complete.

The deadline for completing the survey is 30 June 2016.

Thank you in anticipation of your help.

15 Jun30 June Parliamentary debate on deafness and hearing loss

APPG-logo-PORTCULLISThe APPG on Deafness, chaired by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, has secured a 90 minute debate on deafness and hearing loss in Westminster Hall at 3pm on Thursday 30 June.

Please tell the MPs you know about the debate, and encourage them to attend and speak. This is a great opportunity for us to make sure the government is aware of the range of issues faced by people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.

The motion for the debate is “that this House has considered the NHS England Action Plan on Hearing Loss and the new adult hearing service commissioning framework”. The framework is due to be published soon.

The debate will also be an opportunity to discuss issues of deafness and hearing loss in general, such as support into education and employment, and access for sign language users. For example, the Life Chances Strategy launched by the Prime Minister in January 2016 talked about the importance of support for families, education, and health and social care in supporting self reliance. Deaf people still face many barriers to accessing these services.

We are preparing a briefing for MPs ahead of the debate. While we know our members will be preparing their own, please feel free to tell us what you think should be included.


13 JunAnglian Water provide access for Deaf customers

anglian water

Anglian Water, has teamed up with sign language interpreting agency, Sign Solutions, to improve access for their Deaf customers.

The introduction of Sign Solutions’ InterpretersLive! video relay service, now allows Deaf customers to communicate with Anglian Water billing and Operational teams using British Sign Language (BSL).

By following a link on the Anglian Water website, Deaf customers can connect to an online, fully qualified sign language interpreter, who relays the conversation between them and Anglian Water in real time.

Interpreters are available from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Outside of these times a video message call back option is available.

Sean Nicholson, CEO at Sign Solutions, comments: “Helping Deaf people to lead an independent life is extremely important. Video relay has revolutionised the way in which Deaf people can contact organisations, as it now means, they are able to connect to a fully qualified sign language interpreter on demand from a laptop or mobile device.

“It’s great to see organisations such as Anglian Water  recognising the need to improve their access to Deaf customers and we hope this sets an example for other organisations to follow suite.”

Graham Blackburn, Anglian Water Contact Centre Manager, said: “We want to be able to talk to all our customers when they need assistance, so adding this service is really important to us. Now, no matter whether someone is hearing impaired or not, they can have a conversation with one of our contact centre staff about their water, their sewerage service or their bill, and we will do all we can to help them.”