Care Quality Commission
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Care Quality Commission encourages deaf and hard of hearing people to share their experiences of care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), partnering with Disability Rights UK (DRUK), is asking more people that are deaf or hard of hearing to feedback their experiences of care to help services improve.

CQC’s Because We All Care campaign, launched in January 2021, aims to help health and social care services identify and address quality issues by encouraging people to share feedback on individual experiences of care.

It is estimated that one in six people are deaf or hard of hearing, this represents approximately 11 million people today and is expected to rise to 15.6 million by 2035. CQC introduced SignLive video service which allows people to connect with CQC to share their feedback using British Sign Language (BSL) as well as text relay.

CQC has previously reported on experiences of care from people with disabilities, that they encountered inequalities in accessing and receiving healthcare; CQC is committed to addressing health inequalities and is working to reduce barriers so people can tell inspectors what is working and what needs to improve.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, said:

“We are committed to addressing health inequalities and reducing barriers to care and we want to see an accessible health and social care system which is consistently effective in communicating with people about their care, that adheres to the Accessible Information Standards (AIS).

“CQC has introduced SignLive as a service for those who use BSL, it connects people who want to contact us with a BSL interpreter who relays information between the person using the service and CQC. We also introduced Text Relay as a method of contacting us as well, alongside our existing communication channels.

“The lived experience of people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and the wider community, is significant in understanding how care for them can be improved. We want to learn from their experiences and drive these improvements and ensure people receive good safe care.

CQC Registration Inspector and Disability Equality Network Chair, Paul Kirby, said:

“There are some 151,000 people in the UK who use BSL and, of these, 87,000 are deaf. Health and social care providers know in order to meet the needs of the people they care for they need to effectively communicate with them. Our relationship with hearing changes through the course of our lives, just as our care needs change as we adapt.

“We’ve had some amazing leaps and advancements in technology which has had a huge impact on people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Being able to better access information, communicate with health and social care professionals, and them with us, is vital to getting appropriate care. It is important that we learn and understand what is working well and what can be improved, to drive care forward.

“The deaf community and BSL users reached a turning point recently with the passing of the BSL Act 2022. Whilst BSL was already recognised as an official language the Act will help communication with the community be more effective, creating better provision of services and gives BSL a footing in the Equality Act 2010. Effective communication is key and CQC wants people who are deaf or hard of hearing to feedback about their care experiences.

Head of Advice & Information at DR UK, Michael Paul, said:

“We have a long and successful relationship with the Care Quality Commission in encouraging disabled people to share their experiences of care services they use. We’re really happy to again work together to reach more disabled people, and ultimately improve care services for disabled people and everyone else.

A review by the deaf health charity SignHealth, concerning accessibility standards in the NHS, found deaf people experienced of a lack of accessible communications which acted as a barrier to getting the care they need in a timely manner.

CQC wants to ensure everyone has the same opportunities to feedback about their care and provide an accessible platform to do so, so that experiences can be understood and used to challenge care providers, learned from and shared to drive improvement. Last year CQC introduced SignLive as a way to remove barriers in feeding back, it enables people to communicate their experiences of healthcare services via video in BSL.

People can give feedback on their experiences of care, or those of someone they care for, on the CQC website or through their local Healthwatch. Local Healthwatch organisations can also help you with advice and information to access the support you need.

Notes to editors

Because We All Care Campaign

The Because We All Care campaign aims to help services identify and address quality issues and support patients by encouraging people to share feedback on individual experiences of health and social care services in England. The campaign was first launched by CQC and Healthwatch England in July 2020 and over 50,000 people so far have shared their ideas and experiences of how care can be made better.

Everyone has different experiences of care, so we want to hear feedback on health and social care from everyone. Tell us about your care to ensure services work better for us all.

All providers of NHS care or publicly funded adult social care must meet accessible information standards, that includes NHS hospitals, GP services, dentists and publicly funded care homes. It applied to people who have an information or communication need due to disability, impairment and/or sensory loss.

Wherever possible, inspections review the use and implementation of the standards, including of people's care plans as part of the responsive key questions.

Contacting us if you're deaf or hard of hearing - We use a service called SignLive. SignLive gives you an interpreter so you can talk to us with sign language. You can use it on your smartphone, tablet or computer:

People can give feedback on their experiences of care, or those of someone they care for, on the CQC website or if they wish to raise a concern about their care, or about the care received by a loved one or by someone they care for they can let CQC know by filling out our Give feedback on care form, or calling our contact centre on 03000 616161.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.

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