The APPG on Deafness, chaired by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, has secured a 90 minute debate on deafness and hearing loss in Westminster Hall at 3pm on Thursday 30 June.
Please tell the MPs you know about the debate, and encourage them to attend and speak. This is a great opportunity for us to make sure the government is aware of the range of issues faced by people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.
The motion for the debate is “that this House has considered the NHS England Action Plan on Hearing Loss and the new adult hearing service commissioning framework”. The framework is due to be published soon.
The debate will also be an opportunity to discuss issues of deafness and hearing loss in general, such as support into education and employment, and access for sign language users. For example, the Life Chances Strategy launched by the Prime Minister in January 2016 talked about the importance of support for families, education, and health and social care in supporting self reliance. Deaf people still face many barriers to accessing these services.
We are preparing a briefing for MPs ahead of the debate. While we know our members will be preparing their own, please feel free to tell us what you think should be included.
The report celebrates 10 years of newborn hearing screening in England and calls on the Government, local authorities and health bodies to work together and make a commitment to ensure high quality support is in place as soon as a child is diagnosed as deaf.
It makes five broad recommendations:
- Action is taken to protect and invest in paediatric audiology services and support them to become accredited under the Improving Quality in Physiological diagnostic Services (IQIPS) programme.
- The Government and local authorities continue to protect funding for specialist education services for deaf children.
- Local authorities review the provision of support with communication available to families in their area to ensure that the varying needs of families can be met at any one time.
- Local authorities ensure that radio aids are more readily available to parents of deaf children so that they can support their child’s spoken language and communication development.
- The Government should take action to ensure there is sufficient and effective provision across all local authorities for specialist childcare provision for deaf children, and that mainstream staff receive the training and advice they need to effectively include deaf children. This should include action to support parents with transport costs and to improve the listening environments of childcare settings.
Download the Report (pdf)
Full details about the Campaign Report can be found on the NDCS website here.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is looking for new deaf and deafblind applicants to help it pilot its online application system for Access to Work
DWP believes deaf and deafblind people will particularly benefit from the new online service. They will appreciate UK Council on Deafness members advising new deaf applicants to email ATW.DIGITALFIRSTCONTACT@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK saying they want to make an online application.
The applicant then be sent a unique link that will take them to the online form. By gathering more information at the start, DWP expects the system to reduce the time it takes to make an award.
The online system is one of the improvements our Access to Work special interest group lobbied for during its negotiations with DWP over the past two years. Other improvements that have been or are being made include being able to contact Access to Work via email, the introduction of personal budgets, and guidance for individuals in BSL and English.
Following the pilot, the online application system will be launched nationally. We hope it will lead to the development of an online portal through which people can manage their Access to Work award.
Last year we held a conference together with Sense and Action on Hearing Loss. A big topic of discussion at the event was the political landscape and the Government’s pledge to consider legislation on subtitles for Video on Demand content in 2016 “if it is clear that progress isn’t being made”.
Consensus emerged at the conference that we should work together to define what we would see as ‘progress’ by 2016. In the months following the conference RNIB, Sense and Action on Hearing Loss have worked together to develop a ‘Defining progress’ document. The document can be viewed here
This document has now been shared with a range of contacts including broadcasters and the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
Please urge the Government to act
Now the dust has settled after the general election we know that Ed Vaizey will be retaining his post as Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy. It is important that we remind him of his Department’s promise to review legislation in 2016, and urge him to adopt the progress target for broadcaster that we have identified.
Action on Hearing Loss has developed a simple campaign action that you can use to email Ed Vaizey about this issue.
Please take action here.
Please share with your colleagues
Action on Hearing Loss have launched their new research report:
Based on the findings from a survey of 140 NHS adult audiology providers, the research shows that NHS audiology services across the UK are under significant pressure, with two in every five (41%) offering patients a reduced service as a result of budget cuts or increased demand. It shows that short of removing provision altogether, many providers are being forced to make other changes to their services such as reducing follow up appointments, reducing the number/skill level of staff, increasing waiting times, and/or reducing home visits, and that there is much variation across the UK.
Their findings show that Read more of this article