New text and interpreter service for deaf and hard of hearing patients who need an ambulance

North West Ambulance Service staff have partnered up with Lancashire charity Deafway to improve services for deaf or hard of hearing patients.

By Catherine Musgrove
Saturday, 14th August 2021, 4:55 am
A North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) vehicle
A North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) vehicle

Pilot awareness training has been carried out with 125 members of NWAS and there are two members of Deafway on the service’s Patient and Public Panel to provide their views and advice on a wide range of topics that can help to make the service accessible.

As a result of the partnership, patients can now access the 999 service by using Emergency SMS and NHS111 through an Interpreter Now BSL video translation service. NWAS has also shared staff guidance on communicating when wearing PPE, including face masks.

As part of ongoing woek, NWAS has pledged that by March 2022, they will have made deaf awareness training available for all staff, and they are looking to introduce video relay calling to their 999 service which would allow British Sign Language users to contact the police, ambulance and fire services in BSL.