Poor Communication with Deaf Patients Costs NHS Pounds 20m a Year

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Blakemore

Deaf and hard of hearing patients in the Midlands are not receiving the care they are entitled to, according to a new report.

The NHS is failing to provide equal access to services for patients and urgent action is needed to redress the situation, A Simple Cure study by the charity for the deaf, RNID, claims.

One in seven people in the UK are affected by hearing loss but the report reveals nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of deaf or hard of hearing patients in the region missed at least one appointment due to poor communication -costing the NHS an estimated pounds 20 million a year nationally.

And 44 per cent of patients in the Midlands, who visited hospitals in a non-emergency capacity, found it difficult to communicate with NHS staff.

Almost half of the region's deaf or hard of hearing patients had been left unclear about their condition because of communication problems with their GP or nurse.

British Sign Language users -who make up 30 per cent of those with hearing difficulties -struggled the most to communicate with NHS staff.

Two in five of them in the Midlands, who were admitted to A&E, said they were not provided with a signlanguage interpreter, which aggravated a stressful situation. …