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Call to improve deaf patients' access to NHS

blurred hospital hallway

There is still room for significant improvement in Wales to increase NHS access for deaf patients, BMA Cymru Wales has said.

The association made the comment after the publication of a report by charity Action on Hearing Loss, formerly known as the RNID.

Action on Hearing Loss said people suffering with hearing problems were being forced to visit their GP surgery in person to make a booking.

The report, based on a survey of around 300 people, also found that around half of patients said doctors or nurses did not check they had understood what had been said.

BMA Welsh GP committee chair Charlotte Jones said there was still room for 'significant improvement'.

She said: 'We know that with all consultations, patients don't take away everything that we say – this isn't particular just to those with hearing loss but we accept that it's probably worse for those patients to understand and take on board the information if it's not given to them in the correct way.'

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: 'Effectively capturing the communication needs of patients with sensory loss is key, which is why in November we strengthened the standards by making it a requirement for all GP surgeries to identify and record the information and communication needs of patients with sensory loss.

'We will also continue to monitor health board performance plans and work with the Centre for Equality and Human rights to ensure these standards are being applied.'

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