Snapshot Insight Report: Deaf people's GP challenges

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Summary of report content

In April 2021, Healthwatch Barnet attended a forum with the Jewish Deaf Association (for people of all faiths and none) to discuss Barnet residents’ health and social care priorities and issues. The Barnet residents discussed the issues they have been having with GP surgeries. As a result of the discussions, Healthwatch Barnet conducted a focus group with deaf residents to gather in-depth qualitative data on their experiences with GP surgeries. Their feedback has been broken down into 5 themes.

  • Theme 1 - Lack of provision for qualified interpreters and over-reliance on family/friends
  • Theme 2 - GP staff not trained on being deaf aware
  • Theme 3 - The impact upon deaf patients’ mental wellbeing
  • Theme 4 - Accessibility in the use of written language
  • Theme 5 - Difficulty with physical accessibility to GP surgeries

Healthwatch Barnet made a number of recommendations in this report:

  1. Ensure all GP staff are trained in deaf awareness and their training is kept up to date to improve communication with deaf patients.
  2. A process within GP practices’ patient database that indicates patients who are British Sign Language users, and ensure qualified interpreters are provided instead of family/friends.
  3. Offer deaf patients more accessible methods of communication to contact their GP surgeries such as email or text messaging.
  4. Review written documents to ensure they are clear and in plain English for deaf patients to understand more easily by working with your local deaf community group, such as Jewish Deaf Association (for people of all faiths and none).

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General details

Report title 
Snapshot Insight Report: Deaf people's GP challenges
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Barnet
Date of publication 
Monday, 20 December, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Health inequalities
Information providing
Staff attitudes
Staff training

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Jewish Deaf Association
Primary research method used 
Focus group

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Does the information include public's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.