New sign language service to be rolled out across hospitals in Sheffield

A new sign language service designed to make it easier for deaf patients is to be rolled-out across hospitals in Sheffield.

Monday, 23rd January 2017, 9:22 am
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 9:27 am
The new service aims to make it easier and faster for patients

A new sign language service designed to make it easier for deaf patients is to be rolled-out across hospitals in Sheffield.

The Royal Hallamshire, Northern General and Charles Clifford Dental Hospitals will soon be the first NHS providers in the country to use the service on a routine basis, in the same way that telephone interpreting is used for spoken languages.

SignLive works through a web browser on a computer or a downloaded app on a smart device and allows a direct connection to a qualified interpreter.

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It is readily available as and when it is needed meaning a that deaf patients will have speedy access to a signer to help them communicate with hospital staff.

It also eliminates the need to book interpreters in advance and means that patient appointments will not have to be cancelled where a face-to-face interpreter isn’t available.

The scheme is also designed to save money as the NHS is billed by the minute and eliminates the hassle of booking interpreters in advance.

The service is now being trialled within Sheffield Hospital Trust’s hearing services department and the roll-out will begin in the coming months.

Sue Butler, head of patient partnership, said: “We are always striving to improve patient access and experience across the Trust.

“This service provides access to qualified, professional interpreters quickly and is particularly helpful when fast access to an interpreter is required to communicate with deaf patients in emergencies.

“It is also fantastic in many other hospital settings and eliminates the need to book face-to-face interpreters in advance.”

Vicki Proctor, interim hearing services manager, said: “We are delighted to be trialling the video interpreting service provided by SignLive.

“This new service will allow the department to provide appointments more flexibly as we are not constrained by the availability of face to face interpreters. We have found the software very easy to navigate and are looking forward to the benefits it will provide to our patients.”