The Strategy describes the goals of the area of Health to “foster equal access to health services and related facilities for people with disabilities.

Access to Sign Language interpreting in a situation of health care is in all countries a priority, meaning when there are lack of interpreters and/or funding, interpreters are prioritised to be approved for individuals applying for it for medical/health reasons. A study made in the UK shows a likelihood of reduced life expectancy in deaf people compared to the general population due to lack of health care information, poor communication with medical staff and inaccessible means of communication with health institutions in general. This is shown by missed diagnosis and poor treatments, which is costing the health care system tens of millions each year.[1]In 28 per cent of the countries, unlimited access to interpreting is provided according to the law. However, due to lack of educated interpreters available in all these cases the demand is always much higher than the supply meaning there are often cases where deaf are still not provided with an interpreter even if it is a legal right of that country. It is limited to maximum between 2-25 hours per month in 32 per cent of the countries. But this quota of hours is to be used for all areas of life including education, employment and personal meetings etc. In 10 per cent of the countries, this is the regional/local responsibility to decide on these matters meaning it varies greatly and is decided upon case by case basis. More often than not, this is very limited as the regional/local government have limited financial resources. In 10 per cent, it is up to the individual hospital to decide, apply for and also pay for the Sign Language interpreter. However, there are cases where a hospital has trained medical staff that know Sign Language.

 

                                                                                  Interpreting in health care

                                       Unilimited                 2-25h/month       Regional and case by case          Hospital and case by case

 


[1]For more information, see: http://www.signhealth.org.uk/health-information/sick-of-it-report/

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