Mention at Scottish Parliamnet

contactSCOTLAND-BSL mentioned during questions to Maureen Watt, Minister for Mental Health – 9th February 2017.

National Health Service (Support for British Sign Language Users)

Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP): 

  • To ask the Scottish Government how the NHS supports patients who communicate using British Sign Language. (S5O-00665)

The Minister for Mental Health (Maureen Watt): 

  • The patient charter clearly sets out what patients can expect when they use NHS Scotland services and receive care. That includes the right to be given the information that they need in a format or language that they can understand. Under the Equality Act 2010, NHS Scotland is required to provide translation and interpreting services and written material whenever that is possible and reasonable. All NHS boards have a published accessibility policy and arrangements in place to support such needs. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can access Scotland’s national health and information service, NHS inform, by using the contactSCOTLAND-BSL service, by textphone or by web chat, which is available on the NHS inform website.

Gillian Martin: 

  • A constituent of mine—Rosemary Mitchell from Ellon—is launching a campaign to get BSL training for end-of-life care staff, after she lost her mother, who was hearing impaired, to cancer last year. Will the minister outline what assistance there is for training in British Sign Language for NHS staff?

Maureen Watt: 

  • It is each NHS board’s legal responsibility to comply with the equality legislation as it applies to British Sign Language training. However, the Scottish Government has asked NHS Health Scotland to engage with boards to ensure that they understand their legal obligations and to develop plans to support improvements and share best practice in the use of BSL in NHS settings throughout Scotland, including palliative care settings.
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