Representatives from Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust have signed up to a Charter pledging to improve access to health services for deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind communities in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The signing, which took place during a workshop event for the deaf community, is part of a commitment by the Partnership Trust to personal, fair and diverse services when providing health and social care services and employment.

The workshop event, organised in partnership with Autism and Sensory Support in Staffordshire (ASSIST), provided an opportunity for the deaf community to learn about how the Trust will work with partners to improve access, experience and outcomes for deaf people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The Charter, developed with support from Staffordshire-based charity DEAFvibe and derived from the British Deaf Association (BDA) British Sign Language Charter, sets out five pledges and commits to:

  1. Ensure access for deaf people to information and services
  2. Promote learning and high-quality teaching of British Sign Language and lip speaking skills
  3. Support deaf children and families
  4. Ensure that staff have competence to communicate effectively with the deaf community
  5. Consult with the Trust's deaf community on a regular basis

The Trust, one of the UK's biggest providers of integrated health and adult social care, is the first Staffordshire trust to sign the Charter and commit to the five pledges.

Interim Chairman David Pearson and Director of Workforce and Development Julie Tanner signed the Charter on behalf of the Partnership Trust, along with Chair of the British Deaf Association Dr Terry Riley OBE. The Charter was also witnessed and signed by Chair of DEAFvibe Julie Hart.

Dr Terry Riley OBE said: "The Charter is designed to empower local Deaf groups to work in partnership with service providers and Deaf people, and we commend the Trust for doing this. We are really looking forward to working closely with Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust to help improve access and rights for Deaf people and to facilitate more consultation with the Deaf community living in the region."

He added: "As Chair of the British Deaf Association I must commend the Partnership Trust for an excellent workshop. For me it was a mixture of moving personal experiences, a desire to listen to each other from all parties and a commitment to not only improve the quality of services provided by the trust but also a commitment to ensure the views of deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people were listened to."

David Pearson, Interim Chairman of the Partnership Trust, said: "We are very proud to have signed the Charter in front of many representatives from the deaf community. We look forward to working closely with the BDA and deaf community to monitor progress and achievement of the five pledges we have committed to."

For further information about the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership Trust Deaf Charter please contact Equality and Inclusion manager Baz Kaur on 07515 191603.


Published by Leek Post and Times.