Published on: 6th September 2019

With 20% of people living in Salford being Deaf and many more hard of hearing, a project providing ‘top tips’ to healthcare professionals has launched to make services more accessible.

Silent Voices is a partnership project between NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Healthwatch Salford and Salford’s Deaf community aiming to reduce the inequalities people with hearing loss face.

As part of the project, Salford’s Deaf Digital Champions­­­ - British Sign Language (BSL) users with an interest in digital communication – have taken feedback from the Deaf community that digital communication is a positive way to receive messages and information, to create ‘top tips’ films.

The five short films highlight some of the barriers Deaf people face and explain what changes healthcare staff can do to make health and care services for accessible in Salford, such as responding to text messages quickly, simple appointment letters and making sure interpretators are available.

Dr Tom Tasker, Chair of Salford CCG, said: “Hearing is an easy thing to take for granted and means many may not appreciate the impact hearing loss can have on everyday things, like being able to read and understand a hospital appointment letter which, to a BSL user, is written in their second language. We want to make sure our health services are accessible to everybody and we hope, through this project, we can make it easier for our Deaf community.”

The Silent Voices project also aims to develop the Deaf Digital Champions by involving them in decision making about health and care services and providing training and support, allowing them to create digital content to share with other Deaf service users.

Delana Lawson, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Salford, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to work with partners to maintain a dialogue between health care professionals and the Deaf community in Salford.

“Helping groups to promote their own health and care experiences and issues is what Local Healthwatch is all about!”