A National Health Service (NHS) ambulance with the North East Ambulance Service.

A British Sign Language interpreter will be on hand via iPad day and night

An ambulance service is using a video app to improve its care for people with a hearing impairment.

From May 2024, all North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) vehicles will have an iPad equipped with SignVideo.

The app allows patients and crews to interact with a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter on screen.

Rachel Austin, co-ordinator at Hartlepool Deaf Centre, said the service would "help to save more lives".

Ambulance crews will be able to use the app 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year to help assess the patient’s condition and explain the next steps of their treatment.

It can also be used non-emergency situations, such as for community engagement teams providing advice and training.

'Achieve equality'

Ms Austin said Deaf BSL users struggled to access many services because of communication barriers and a lack of support, and welcomed the new scheme.

She added: "It will help to save more lives, ensure people get the best outcome and help achieve equality between Deaf and hearing people."

NEAS inclusion manager Mark Johns said the ambulance service was committed to high quality care and prompt, effective communication in emergencies for all patients.

Mr Johns said: "Although our health advisors have access to BSL relay to support patients over the phone, we know our crews and Deaf/BSL patients sometimes face communication barriers.

"This partnership with SignVideo means that when a patient who is Deaf or uses BSL, we are able to triage and communicate more easily."

Training for frontline staff will be complete by Spring 2025.


From BBC




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