Well, this morning as my Twitter followers will know I had a meeting at the Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust or the CLCH as it's more conveniently known as part of my campaign to get the NHS more accessible.
It follows some feedback I gave to PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) when I had a bit of a bad experience at my local walk-in centre after the time I threw the boiling tea down myself...
I've been in touch with PALS before about the lack of accessible GP surgeries in my area, but after the whole not-knowing-when-my-name-was-being-called farce at the walk-in centre, I felt compelled to write again to see if I can help change things for people who don't hear.
And that's where the fab people at CLCH come in – they contacted me through PALS after my experience at the walk-in centre and wanted to hear my side of the story.
Fabulously, they are on my side and I really do believe that if the brilliant person I'm in contact with gets her way then things will change… for the better. But of course, it's not as simple as all that – there are departments, trusts, places where funding comes from, people to talk to and a whole host of rules and regulations to follow in our journey of making the NHS more accessible to deaf people.
But it wasn't just a one-sided conversation. She asked me some stuff, too.
She asked me whether I minded being singled out and helped in a public place such as a walk-in centre because of my deafness or whether I would find it embarrassing. My immediate response was 'No, of course I wouldn't mind. The pros of knowing what was going on and when my name was being called, would far outweight the cons.' But I wanted to know what you guys thought, too.
So tell me…
And then there's BSL... Signing is not my main form of communication but I need to know what it's like for those of you that really need interpreters in your appointments. How easy is it to get one? Do you pay? Does the NHS pay? Does it put you off making appointments? What are your bad and good experiences of this?
So tell me…
If you let me have this information, I can pass it on – I can give it to the people who write the cheques, set the targets and make the changes. I can empower them with the knowledge of what would make life easier, healthier, more accessible, less stressful and just as good as we deserve.
You see, I can give my perspective, my thoughts, my ideas, but without your input, too, then I'll be creating a DG-tailored NHS, which while brilliant for me, might overlook a need that I don't have but you do.
So while I'm researching the various departments, trusts, and thingumbobs that make up the NHS, please have a think. Write with anything you think is important to firstname.lastname@example.org and it'll help me build that picture.
Apparently deaf people fall into the 'Seldom Heard' category of people within the NHS, but I don't see why we can't change that. After all, the people we're dealing with can hear perfectly well. So let's go from Seldom Heard to Always Heard (with a little bit of nagging on the side) and get these changes made.
I'm excited peeps, and you should be, too.
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