Our Healthwatch Dudley colleagues have supported Dudley Deaf Focus group for the last three years.
Our well attended sessions help participants to share their views with decision makers in health services. The group have also enjoyed taking part in awareness campaigns such as becoming dementia friends. We were delighted when our umbrella organisation Healthwatch England invited us to present our work with the deaf community on a national stage at their annual conference in October. It was a fantastic opportunity to share how we have developed a successful feedback forum and learn from our network of 147 other local Healthwatch organisations.
Our deaf awareness campaign…
We supported Dudley Deaf Focus Group to introduce awareness cards as a quick and simple way to inform people of their communication needs. Cards were introduced in partnership with Dudley CCG, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Dudley Council’s Deaf Support Service. In July we teamed up with Dudley Deaf Support Service to deliver deaf awareness sessions at local GP practices to help make surgery staff more deaf aware.
“I’m a busy mom with several jobs and my deafness means I sometimes struggle to communicate. I work behind a bar in a noisy environment and it can be embarrassing having to ask people to keep repeating themselves. My support worker gave me a communication card and it has given me so much more confidence. I also work with a mobile zoo so I communicate with members of the public all day, my card helps people to understand my needs. I’ve got a friend who works on Brierley Hill Market and I asked her what she thought about it, she told me that it has helped her to be more deaf aware.” Nicky Wakeman
In November last year, our work was recognised at the annual Signature Deaf Awards in the workplace commitment category. Signature is a leading provider of British Sign Language Qualifications in the UK and in December we brought together members of Dudley Deaf Focus Group to celebrate. In March Signature invited us to make a short film to celebrate Sign Language Week which they used as part of their national awareness campaign.
See more highlights from Healthwatch Dudley last year in their annual report.