UK hospitals and GP surgeries are failing the deaf and hard of hearing


stethoscope_1I don’t think that UK hospitals and GP surgeries are doing enough to make themselves accessible to their deaf and hard of hearing patients.

Take my local GP surgery as an example: They have a largish waiting room. They have a single speaker at one end of the room that most doctors use to call their patients – other doctors will walk to the top end of the room and call someone in. The room is often filled with patient’s chatter and kids playing. If I can’t get a seat right under the speaker then I can’t hear when I am called.

That puts me off going.

If people are reluctant to go to see their doctor then that puts their health at risk.

Our local NHS hospital has the same problem. We recently had to take our daughter to an outpatient’s clinic and again there was a large waiting area and doctors would stand in the doorway at one end of the room and call their next patient in. I had to watch the door to even realise someone was being called. This is not good enough.

Worst of all, the last time I went for a hearing test at a hospital there was no visual clue as to who was being called. This is unforgivable considering this was a room full of people waiting for hearing tests! Admittedly it is a few years since I’ve been for a hearing test at an NHS hospital so they may have sorted it out by now.

It is too easy to say that people with hearing difficulties should make it known when they arrive in a waiting room so that the doctor can make sure they hear/see. Most people don’t want to make a spectacle of themselves in a room full of strangers.

I’d like to see an electronic notice board displaying the next patient in all hospitals and GP surgeries.