Wednesday, 23 April 2014

UHB: Not implemented any changes yet on deaf Access.

A 4th FOI response via Byddar Cymru's 7 request to all welsh trusts regarding compliance with the welsh assembly directive on health access for the deaf and hearing impaired patients, as yet NONE have complied with a directive of November 2013.

TO BYYDAR CYMRU:  Re: Information Requested Under The Freedom Of Information Act 2000

Further to your request of 21 March 2014, I am now able to provide you with the information you have requested in regard to access to guidelines to those who are deaf and have other communication issues.

Your request:

I have received notification from the Welsh Assembly regarding guidelines of access to those who are deaf or have other communication issues accessing health services in your region.  Please note that although the missive is posted to the AM, it has been a direct request and answer forwarded to me directly from Mark Drakeford.

I am writing to ask why there has been no implementation as yet to the directive of last December, neither on your websites or within your services is there a clear indication of how the service will operate or who the SIO is, how he/she can be contacted etc, types of support available e.g. telephonic, relay systems, interpreting, note-taking etc.  Who is responsible for provision.  Despite the welsh Assembly stating it is the trusts responsibility, you are not complying with the law as Mr Drakeford pointed out you must, and as the NHS guide and Goods & Services Act require you to do. I would appreciate details on this. Also on your policy of sending health awareness videos to youtube in British Sign Language that provide no captioning to follow for those who do not use that medium.  I should point out your website makes it difficult for deaf people to find the information they need, and doesn't comply with accessibility standards as requierd by the Welsh Assembly and Health Boards.

Our response:

The University Health Board (UHB) has established a multi agency group to address how the Standards will be implemented within the Health Board, which has met on a monthly basis since September 2013.  Consistent with the view of the Minister, the Health Board regards this matter as important and is working toward a continuous quality improvement agenda underpinned by strong collaborative working with partner agencies.  Membership of the group includes strong representation from "in-house" colleagues including Audiology, Low Vision Wales, Public and Patient Engagement, Patient Experience, Learning Disabilities and others.  There is similar robust representation from national and local sensory loss support groups e.g. RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind), BDA (British Deaf Association), Carmarthenshire Coalition for Action on Disability and others, other public sector bodies e.g. WAST (Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust) and local authorities and service users (e.g. members of local Deaf clubs etc).

Work is progressing and developments to date include the establishment of a specific working group to explore services issues for deaf and hard of hearing people (mirroring a similar group already in existence for Visual Impairment).  The UHB have worked with the Community Health Council to look at the issues of hearing loop usage within our hospitals with a view to improving access to and utilisation of hearing loops across Health Board sites.  The UHB have also collaborated with the Wales Interpretation & Translation Service (WITS) to facilitate a streamlined, sustainable and affordable service across the Health Board from April 1st 2014 onwards.

In addition to the above, the UHB have met with service users in various settings to gain more information about their experiences of accessing and receiving our services.  Within the wider context of looking at raising concerns, we intend to use poor patient experiences as learning opportunities across the organisation with a view to improving patient experience.  We are considering how training relating to various aspects of sensory loss, including awareness and communication skills can best be accessed and targeted appropriately, with a view to using the skills and expertise available from partnership organisations who attend our meetings.  A multi-agency conference is planned to progress these discussions.

The UHB website is "speech-enabled" to make it more accessible to varied users, using free Browsealoud software - more detail can be found on the following website:

A Board paper is enclosed for your information entitled “Sensory Loss Standards Implementation Plan” which details progress to date and outlines next steps.

I, sent it to them !

If you require any further information please speak to Mr Peter Llewellyn, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships who chairs the (SLSIG) group and is responsible for taking this work forward. Mr Llewellyn can be contacted by e-mail or by telephone 01437 771257.

I trust this provides you with the information you require.  However should you be dissatisfied with the way your request has been handled by the Health Board or you have other concerns, you have the right to appeal and request a review of our decision, you should write to:

Assistant Director of Corporate Governance
Hywel Dda University Health Board
Merlins Court
Winch Lane
SA61 1SB

If following your review you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the appeals procedure provided by Hywel Dda Health Board.

I wasn't satisfied and have referred back for more information on accessible videos and HI access equipment provisions.  Provision ignored on the original sensory impaired reports.