Queen’s becomes the first hospital in the country to receive Deaf-Aware Quality Mark

BHRUT Hospitals Deaf Charter Mark
(L-R) Victoria Wallen, head of patient experience, Colleen Daniels, Della Pedley, Amanda Casson-Webb, Fiona Cooke (back), Jeff Buggle, Ann Hart, Russell Cooke (back) and Rea Blewitt, patient experience facilitator.

The Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) presented acting Chief Executive Jeff Buggle with its Deaf-Aware hospital Quality Mark on Monday (22 May).

The hospital, run by Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust is the first in the country to receive the quality mark, which was introduced this year.

It follows a two-year partnership with RAD, after the Trust realised it needed to be more accessible for deaf patients.

It first introduced a deaf access group, made up of local people, patients and relatives across all three boroughs the Trust serves, and involved them in making improvements to accessibility for deaf patients at the hospital.

These included:

  • Introducing a text service for deaf patients to contact the hospital, including to cancel or change appointments
  • Redesigned a hospital communication book, frequently used by deaf patients to communicate
  • Provided deaf awareness training for all staff
  • Simplified some signage around the hospital
  • Produced a top tips for communicating with deaf people in the form of a poster and short film.

Jeff Buggle, acting Chief Executive at the Trust, said: “I’m really proud that we’ve become the first hospital in the country to receive this quality mark, and I hope many more follow in our footsteps.

“We’ve made lots of improvement, many of them really simple things, but they make such a difference. I’ve been so pleased to hear from members of our own deaf access group about how much they value the work we’ve been doing. We know there’s still more to do, and that’s why our next step is to achieve this quality mark for King George Hospital.”

Dr Jan Sheldon, Chief Executive Officer, RAD, said: “We are delighted to award the first Deaf-Aware Quality Mark for hospitals to Queen’s Hospital, Romford. The Patient Experience Team worked hard to ensure that staff are deaf aware and that deaf patients receive accessible services.

“Staff at Queen’s Hospital truly demonstrate that they provide equality for deaf patients and we hope that other hospitals will follow their lead.”

The special presentation event was attended by representatives from RAD, including Amanda Casson- Webb, Director of Communications Services and Community Development, and Russell Cooke, Community Development Manager.

Members of the hospital’s deaf access group also came along, including Colleen Daniels, who added: “I’m really happy about this, especially the text service. There’s much more deaf awareness now, and the hospital is much more accessible for us.”