"Attitudes towards deaf patients and their interpreters"

About: Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Sefton PCT

(as the patient),

We have had a series of negative experiences.

When the nurse called my name in hospital, the interpreter told me and I stood up with my husband and my sister and approached Doctor’s room. The Dr was standing at the door of his room with a nurse and although we were very close to him he turned to the nurse and said ‘only three people can come in’.

The interpreter relayed this to me by sign and when I said that the interpreter did not count as a person, the Dr turned into his room and in my opinion with very bad grace took his briefcase off a chair that was behind his desk and carried the chair to the furthest corner of the room, behind the three chairs that were in front of his desk. He made no comment during this time but I thought his general demeanor was one of annoyance. This fourth chair was not in a position that could be used by the interpreter because she needs to be in front of us so we can see her signing and so we can sign back.

Another experience - I had booked myself and my husband onto the newly diagnosed workshop to learn more about the condition. We both are deaf. Firstly the interpreters had not received any paperwork to allow them to prepare for what the day was about, they had received an agenda of what was on that day but nothing more as had been requested by the interpreting agency Action on Hearing Loss (standard procedure). The paperwork would have helped them to devise a sign if there are new words such as medical terms. I asked the nurse for clarification and explained that the interpreters needed paper copies of the presentation and any medical jargon / medications etc to enable them to do their jobs effectively. During the first presentation the interpreters asked for clarification on the spelling of a number of medications that were mentioned during the presentation (all of which were not included in the power point presentation) and were ignored. I found this very dismissive and it reminded me of the experience I had with the Doctor where he treated me differently to anyone else. I am extremely disappointed that this has happened again.

Deaf awareness / interpreter awareness needs to be addressed for all your deaf patients and not just myself. I am aware that there was a Deaf Awareness session but it is only to the administration staff with whom I have no problem. Why waste money on them instead of targeting the Doctor and Nurse who we have negative experiences with?

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