Published on: 24th May 2019

‘Deaf champions’ are being introduced in GP practices across Salford thanks to funding from NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The deaf champions will be members of staff at GP practices and their role will include supporting colleagues to arrange interpreters and book appointments and referrals to specialist services. They will also conduct regular checks on loop systems to ensure they are maintained and working properly.

The project, Access to Health, is being delivered by the charity Action on Hearing Loss after receiving money from Salford CCG’s Innovation Fund. After a successful 12 month pilot in Eccles and Swinton GP practices, the project is expanding across the whole city, including training the champions to work with deaf and hard of hearing patients.

Access to Health aims to improve how patients with hearing loss access GP practices and engagement events as well as raises awareness of the communication barriers people with hearing loss experience. With more than 5,500 deaf or hard of hearing people living in Salford, the deaf champions will improve their lives by allowing them to access health services more easily.

The accessibility of each location was measured using a ‘mystery shopper’-style review by deaf and hard of hearing volunteers followed by more thorough checks of each loop system.

Dr Tom Tasker, Chair of Salford CCG, said: “This fantastic project is showing how Salford CCG is leading the city-wide changes to make our health service accessible to everyone.

“The innovation fund has allowed Salford CCG to test new, innovative ways of working and this project is proving to be successful and effective.”