Healthwatch Hampshire has been approached to raise the voices of the d/Deaf Community and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters with issues around accessing various primary care services. This has been welcomed by West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), North-East Hampshire & Farnham CCG, Surrey & Borders Partnership and Hampshire County Council Sensory Services team, as well as some borough councils. We have developed a proposal which aims to involve primary health care service users, carers, providers and voluntary and community organisations in providing feedback on services. As well as this, we are looking into developing the CCGs’, local authority and partners’ recommendations.
The way services are provided and delivered has been under significant scrutiny nationally, for ensuring the Accessible Information Standard is being met. Locally in Eastleigh, West Hampshire CCG are piloting a Communication Needs Card for the d/Deaf community.
The North-East Hampshire & Farnham CCG and Surrey & Borders Partnership are interested in improving services, particularly at Frimley Park Hospital. It will focus on the development of an integrated health, social care and wellbeing system which will put the service user at the center of their care. This will ensure that they can understand and are understood, through their preferred form of access. Healthwatch Hampshire are already partnered with West Hampshire CCG, North-East Hampshire & Farnham CCG and Surrey & Borders Partnership to ensure the voices of patients, carers and the public are included in their planning and delivery of the engagement work.
Healthwatch are ultimately accountable to local people and prioritise the work they do to reflect the intelligence and evidence they have gathered from local people. Their independence from the NHS and local authorities mean that they are not bound to adopt the priorities or messages of those bodies.
We have worked with two focus groups of d/Deaf service users and BSL interpreters to develop key questions for both online surveys. We would expect these key questions to contribute to building an understanding of existing service users’ and interpreters’ experiences, and then to develop recommendations.