Seven things Deaf patients told us about GP services

We held a focus group with Deaf patients in December 2108. We discussed GP services broadly. We also gathered views on urgent and same day services in particular.

Four changes that would improve our experience

  • Being able to book GP appointments by text rather than phone. The surgeries themselves text to confirm appointments, but it's not possible to send them a text directly.
  • Better use of existing and emerging technology, for example remote access to interpreters via tablets for GP visits.
  • GPs and nurses who are trained and can communicate in sign language, even if at a basic level. Putting pen to paper is not an appropriate substitute. English is not our first language.
  • A vibrating device to let us know we have been called for our appointment, or telling us to look at the screen display. Visual cues are of limited use on their own. It means having to look at it all the time while waiting, which is tiring and stressful.

'You've got your appointment, now you're afraid you can miss it...I'm constantly watching that screen.'

We just want to get what hearing people get.

Three things we don't like about GP services at the moment

  • Poor access to out of hours and urgent appointments - Deaf people are unable to access out of hours or walk in services because we rely on the Sign Language Interpreting Service to communicate, and that service is not available on a walk in basis.
  • Being shunted down the list whilst waiting for an interpreter, even though you were originally first in the queue for a same day appointment.
  • Having to go to the surgery in person when ill in order to get an appointment, rather than being able to phone like anyone else.

This feedback was gathered as part of a broader piece of research looking at walk in and same day GP services.

You can read more of the feedback we gathered from the Deaf community, and from patients using the Angel Medical Centre, in our full report.

Read the report