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Current Activities

A snapshot of some current activities

We are working with DWP, Access to Work, Job Centres, NHS England, Sensory support organisations around the country, Universities in the UK, Europe and the US, and suppliers in the following areas:

Employment

1 Improve support for job seekers who have any level of significant hearing loss many of whom have lost jobs and have to reapply. Often after having missed out on information re-training opportunities available to others who do not have communication barriers, a further disadvantage when competing for scarce jobs.

2 Improve awareness and wider introduction of reasonable adjustments. E.g. young people who are moving from education into employment need support

3 Co-operate with members of the Disability Confident scheme and Job Centres and develop a skills register of people with a hearing loss.

Education

4 Raise awareness of support available for Deaf students accessing higher education.

Communication

5 Encourage and support users to report specific instances of failure to comply with Accessibility Standards of the relevant regulators following up a finding from our survey of the BT “Relay UK” earlier this year that about 70% of participants experienced problems with banks, medical professionals, government agencies or large companies refusing to accept relay calls.

6 Following discussions over 2 years with Ofcom by: UKCoD, RNID and Sign Health we obtained a decision from Ofcom to require provision of a new VSR 999 emergency service for BSL users alongside the existing voice, SMS and Relay UK 999 services. It is scheduled to start in 1 year. We will be continuing to work to ensure the system meets the needs of BSL users.

7 Promote use of a technique in the UK, developed by a University Medical Centre in the US, which assists post-operation cochlear treatment. The technique provides objective cues specific for each patient to indicate what setting changes will lead to better performance. Experience in the US shows that over 90% of patients prefer the settings resulting from use of the technique. Initial results in the UK have been encouraging we expect progress to continue slowly.

Health/NHS

8 Follow up with the team responsible for GP contracting within the NHS England Improvements Team regarding the problems experienced with remote GP appointments for people with a hearing loss. We are having to point out that NHS England are not following the obligations set out in their own Accessibility Standard.

BSL

9 Following up with linguistic specialists and Rosie Cooper MP pursuing her prospective BSL private member’s bill, with a view to strengthen its provisions and making the BSL Act more effective in promoting and protecting the continued use of BSL.

Disseminating information

10 Create video updates, which we plan to publish via our website in the autumn, with help from specialists who presented at previous conferences on:

a. Use of object audio techniques in broadcast and video-on-demand subtitling;

b. Subtitling as part of the initial film-making process by film-makers as opposed to a post-production add-on.