Ministers urged to crack down on PCT complaints failures
GPs should make sign language translation available in their practice to improve treatment for deaf patients, particularly those with mental health problems, the Department of Health has advised.
New guidance said software that converts speech into British Sign Language should be made available to practices 'as speedily as possible' by PCTs. Trusts have been given £2.5 million to implement the guidance, which also proposed encouraging a practice to develop a special interest in the deaf population.
Dr Judith Langfield, a GP in Bristol who is deaf, said deaf patients can leave after a consultation 'without a clue what's the matter with them'.
She said: 'The problem with mental health is it relies heavily on speech. There's no physical examination and if they have difficulty with speech they have difficulty in conveying what they are feeling.'