Deaf and hearing impaired patients fear poor care

A report has revealed that deaf and hearing impaired patients in York are being denied fair access to healthcare.

A health watchdog said there was a "significant litigation risk" arising from misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, often because of a lack of sign language interpreters.

In a statement, The British Deaf Association said:

"(it) considers the number of incidences in the UK where health settings consistently fail to ensure Deaf people have adequate access to information about their own health is a scandal.

This results in misdiagnoses, delayed treatment and wrongly prescribed medication leading to longer periods of ill-health."

Tina Gelder has more:


Matt Dixon's father, Phillip, died of cancer. But it was Matt who'd had to break the news to him that it was terminal. Phillip Dixon was deaf. At the hospital there'd been no sign language interpreter.

"Were you surprised by the findings of the report? Unfortunately we weren't're there to support your parent and when that information came across and I had no other way of saying it, apart from 'soon, die', 'it's going to get worse', to which my dad said, I accept it. "

Matt's shocking experience is not an isolated one.

A damning report by Healthwatch York has found patients who are deaf or have a hearing impairment face an uphill struggle when it comes to accessing heath care services in the city.

"We hear about one mother who took her baby to the GP and the baby was given an injection without anyone explaining what it was.

We also had a person talking to us about having blood taken, with no explanation of why the blood was needed or what the test was for. And so many of these issues come down to poor communication."

Matt Dixon fears for patients, for whom an interpreter is not available.

"If they're not leaving that appointment understanding 100% what the information is they're being told, the results could be horrendous."

The hospital has apologised to Matt Dixon and says protocol is to provide an interpreter and improvements have and are being made.

The organisations who provide health care services in York, such as GPs, hospital trusts and the clinical commissioning group say they are working closer together to allow greater access to interpreters and other facilities.

A specially engraved brick at Matt Dixon' home reflects his fathers attitude to life. He says deaf people do not want special treatment - but equal treatment. Tina Gelder, ITV News, York.