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Key Issues

The APPG on Deafness is working on a number of key issues. If there is something else you think they should be working on please email appg@deafcouncil.org.uk

Subtitles

The Group believes more television should have subtitles. It supports the Action on Hearing Loss SubtitleIt! campaign.

In July 2013 the Government promised to consider legislation on subtitles in 2016 if progress had not been made. Progress has been slow. A 2014 report from regulator ATVOD found that some platforms, including BT and Virgin, provided no access services and over 96 per cent of Sky On Demand content was without subtitles.

Provision of hearing aids

The Group believes hearing aids should be provided by the NHS. It supports the campaign to stop the cuts to NHS hearing aid services.

In the past year, some clinical commissioning groups have proposed rationing the provision of hearing aids via the NHS. North Staffordshire CCG approved rationing on 4 March.

The Group is monitoring the impact of the NHS England adult hearing service commissioning framework on the provision of hearing aids

Awareness of deafness and hearing loss

The Group believes more people should know about the impact of deafness and hearing loss, how it can be managed, and how communication can be improved. It is working to secure a nationwide public health campaign on deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus.

The Group supports the Hearing Screening for Life campaign because it will help raise awareness of deafness and hearing loss, as well as make sure people get the support they need.

Adult education and employment

The Group believes people who are deaf or have a hearing loss should have equal access to education and employment.

From 2014 to 2016, the deafness and hearing loss sector secured significant change to the government’s Access to Work scheme. The Group will continue to monitor the implementation and impact of those changes.

The Group will also explore other support available, and its impact, to identify if more can be done.

Minority language recognition for British Sign Language

The Group wants to know more about the cost implications of recognising – or not recognising – British Sign Language (BSL) as a minority language.

Although it is indigenous to the United Kingdom and the first language of thousands of people, the government has not ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages with respect to British Sign Language (BSL).

The Group will conduct an inquiry that will estimate the economic, social and individual costs of recognition. The inquiry report will help politicians, policy makers and campaigners form a strategy for providing better access for people whose first or main language is BSL.

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