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Independents' Day

Here is evidence for the benefits of low-allergy diets

Your article 'GPs urged to make sign language available' (News, February 26) confuses those who are deaf (ie have no hearing) and those who are hard of hearing.

I suggest Dr Langfield is unlikely to actually be deaf (I notice a hearing aid in her photograph) if she is still practising as a GP.

While this Government initiative will give some patients great benefit, most of our patients who are hard of hearing, or deaf, are so due to presbyacousis. A tiny minority, if any, will know any sign language.

Another aspect of course is cultural. People who are born deaf, or become deaf at a young age, often are part of a culture that is not the same as those of us fortunate to be hearing; this is another barrier to mental health issues being dealt with effectively.

I used to be reasonably fluent in British Sign Language and can remember one patient who was a regular attendee at A&E with asthma.

On one occasion I was the admitting doctor and was able to communicate using BSL. This was the last admission for a long time because, for the first time, some of her needs were actually identified and met.

Dr Ian Ward


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