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:
- Ensure all GP staff are trained in deaf awareness and their training is kept up to date to improve communication with deaf patients.
- 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.
- Offer deaf patients more accessible methods of communication to contact their GP surgeries such as email or text messaging.
- 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).