Saturday, 21 January 2017

Putting the Cart before the Horse

Image result for cart before horseThe success of Scottish deaf in going for a Bill Of BSL rights, is viewed generally as more cultural hype, than substance. 

While it is true A BSL Bill has been enacted in Scotland via their devolved government, there are concerns it isn't viable.

Anecdotal evidence suggests not enough demand for BSL support is coming from deaf people on the street, and all the lobbies for access are not based on demand, or availability.

E.G. far too many deaf signers are still mostly relying on family and friends, and with the advent of more text/mobile access, this contributes to a lower demand for sign support.   4 years ago, ATR launched a campaign to BAN all unqualified sign support being used for deaf bsl users, to include, a non-acceptance of family or friend help in medical situations (GP/Clinics/hospitals).   The approach was primarily via the NHS legal Dept with threats to sue the NHS for failing to provide qualified support for deaf and HoH patients, the NHS Insurance area was also approached with the same view, i.e. to apply pressure.

Using unqualified help regardless IF deaf chose that, would not exempt the NHS or any other area, from still being sued if an issue presented itself. They could not use the argument they had simply complied with a patient choice, the duty of care was on the NHS.

The ATR approach was not to oppose deaf having family support, but to prevent the systems using families as a free source of access so they could avoid their legal obligations undermine demand, and save costs at the same time.  ATR being aware deaf were alarmed at the thought they could not then take family support with them, complained bitterly,  but the demands made to the system, did not prevent deaf taking family with them as personal support, but, it did, campaign that family support should not act as bona fide interpreters without qualifications, as they violated the Hippocratic oath, and patient confidentiality.   

Deaf seemed unaware these facts were obvious. There were obvious dangers to deaf people of hearing family, even young hearing children of deaf parents, determining clinical approaches. Other relatives, could disempower deaf people's choice as well.

The BDA opposed ATR's campaign, after initially supporting the idea, had they not opposed, then no medical interview or clinical/hospital, or other appointment could have been carried through without a qualified terp being there, thus demand would quadruple (and prevent medical areas insisting you bring a hearing relative instead).   While deaf still use alternatives, terp demand will remain static.   The BDA stated delays in getting trained support could be dangerous to a deaf patients health, it was a 'catch 22' situation.  ATR disagreed, unless the situation was an emergency one, there was no reason for deaf to circumvent their own demand, it was pure habit or convenience, and quite misplaced.

Training of bsl interpreters has plummeted despite apparent demands for more on the political scene and rights areas, this will defeat any bill of bsl rights, there would be no way to empower it. ATR never understood why scotland went for a bsl bill without first ensuring it was actually viable on a practical basis, we knew the moral and equality rights stance, but that was culturally driven.   

A BSL Bill is a cart before horse approach. it's like demanding everyone has a car, and not ensuring there is fuel to run them, or even  a garage to visit if it breaks down..

No comments:

Post a Comment