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Deaf bricklayer Jack Sturdy speaks of health-care snubs
A DEAF man from York has told how he has struggled to get fair access to health care in the city.
Jack Sturdy, 27, who works as a bricklayer, said he had been left waiting for appointments after not hearing his name called without a visual indicator.
He has to take his fiancée or mother to appointments due to a lack of available sign language interpreters.
Once, his mother said it was suggested he should wear a bright anorak to his GP surgery so staff would know he was deaf.
Jack spoke out after Healthwatch York revealed a catalogue of failures to give deaf people fair access to health care in York, as reported in The Press.
Speaking about his missed appointments at the ear, nose And throat department at York Hospital, Jack said: “I’ve always watched out for them and tried to lipread when they called out, but they talk too fast so I miss it or they had their papers covering their mouth.
“They always go away as quickly as they came in, with or without patients.
“I had to ask my mum to come with me to every appointment so she can tap me to tell me I’m ready to go in. I’m not happy because I feel that I’m old enough to be independent.”
Jack, who attended St John’s School For The Deaf in Boston Spa and York College, said one doctor spoke to his fiancée, Charlotte, who is also deaf but can hear with the aid of an implanted hearing aid, as if he was not in the room.
He said since Charlotte is not a trained British Sign Language interpreter she can struggle to translate medical terms.
Loreto Sturdy, Jack’s mum, said the treatment was “totally unacceptable”.
She said: “We’re are not asking everyone to sign but we need the staff to be more deaf-aware.”
She said: “Once we are aware a patient suffers from hearing loss, their records have the appropriate advice added.
“All our patients are collected by their doctor or nurse personally from the waiting room and escorted to the clinic room. “The note that the patient is deaf ensures that our staff know they will have to approach the patient and not just call them. We do not use an automatic patient call system.”
They said the surgery used an online system, giving access to sign language interpreters.
A spokeswoman for York Hospital said British Sign Language was its most widely provided translation service and its protocol was to provide a qualified interpreter for patients who needed one.
She said over the past year it had staff dedicated to monitoring and improving interpretation services and the hospital had formed an Access To Services group to look at accessibility.