Friday, 2 April 2021

Relay Systems: a good or Bad idea?

Hard of Hearing media also with issues of access to health systems in the UK, following the issues with demise of the BSL health relay systems due to lack of funding, there are now concerns video relay funding for HoH will follow the same route.  Covid has decimated fundraising for the deaf and HoH and shoe-string charity support is now viewed as part of the issue too...


#1  We wouldn't need all this if charities had not undermined our access to the NHS, which skilfully avoided giving us it for 70 YEARS. E.G. With the demise of SignHealth the BSL relay system folded this week because the charity relied on handouts that never came during covid. Now is really the time we drop charity altogether and force the NHS to include us, 70yrs is an utter disgrace, but, in accepting shoe-string alternatives we were architects of our own exclusion. I appreciate there are supporters of relay systems but I prefer A Dr to see me in person. These things tend to be veiled 'surveys' to encourage charity again who make a big deal over them not getting funds for a service that should be there anyway.

#2  Unfortunately, telecare is going to continue for time being and shielders would be and will be in danger in face to face meetings. When possible to have face to face meetings, clear face masks need to be worn. You are right that this is a systemic issue but the UK is not alone in this. Other countries and their deaf and Hoh communities are also dealing with those issues. We do not believe in the charity model,  the social and rights model that is the way forward here, equal access to all different areas in society. Indeed, the piecemeal situation with SignHealth shows that VRS needs to be centrally funded.


#3  Central funding is an issue, as is centralising any access.  The UK has 4 devolved health areas now and each NHS is run individually by them which makes lobbying harder (Or easier?) to do. In accessing my GP originally there was no signed or other help unless you provided your own, but I found a clause in the NHS law that stated you can make a demand for your access and if they don't comply in 6 months and 1 day then they automatically get taken to court and forced to provide it. Telling you to leave the practice is illegal too if they do it to avoid supporting you. 

#4  I sent an official request to my GP and quoted that law, I got support for the next appointment! and never looked back, however, UK hospitals are still denying access and clinics despite that law and despite 5 UK-wide anti-discrimination laws too. It seems most of the issue is deaf and HoH are simply unaware of their rights or fail to ask for them. As regards to HoH needs, the problem is simply no system of support the NHS can access for the HoH or deafened UNLESS we sign. No lip-speakers, no text operators etc... It is in our hands to create that demand, clearly we aren't doing it. We are playing these remote and charitable games instead which itself will undermine real demand.  

#5  The only time we see a medico is on the other side of a screen, it isn't access but a cost-saving gig as we know, cutting out the middle man aka the actual person to see face to face who can help you and who helps those who aren't even online? elderly? or those who cannot use relay because it lacks access formats they use?  

#6  What next? we get treated by remote? I've heard of 'physician heal thyself', but surely they don't expect us to as well!

#7  Covid has a lot to answer for but we need to monitor access isn't being made more difficult just so the NHS can avoid treating deaf and HoH patients, or avoid providing the real access that is our right and need, not just now, but post-covid we need to ensure such systems are a temporary measure, and not a permanent cheapo one via stealth, where rather than a Dr see a deaf or HoH patient personally, they keep them at length via a phone, Dr's need to SEE patients, hearing can, but we have to do it by remote?  not on!

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