6th October 2023
17:00h – 19:00h Madrid time
In a significant step towards advocating for equal access to healthcare for Deaf individuals, the European Union of the Deaf (EUD) is proud to join forces with the Spanish Association of the Deaf (CNSE) to present a hybrid seminar titled ‘Using the European Pillar of Social Rights to Achieve the Highest Standard of Health.’ This seminar, scheduled for 5 p.m. on October 6th, were open to National Associations of the Deaf, offering both in-person and virtual participation options through Zoom. The collaborative initiative aims to critically examine Principle 16 of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), which emphasises the right to quality healthcare, and strategise how to overcome the barriers that Deaf individuals encounter when accessing healthcare across EU Member States.
Introduction and Overview
The seminar, moderated by EUD President, Sofia Isari, kicked off with an introduction by the moderator and Spanish NAD President, Roberto Suarez Martin. The initial segment provided a comprehensive understanding of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), its principles, and its potential to ensure the full implementation of EU citizens’ rights, with a special focus on Principle 16 related to healthcare access.
EUD’s Policy Recommendations on Access to Healthcare for Deaf Persons in the EU
The first series of presentations were delivered by EUD board members, shedding light on various aspects of healthcare access for Deaf individuals in the EU:
- EUD Vice-President, Ronit Laquerrière-Leven, discussed the barriers that Deaf people face when accessing healthcare, both within healthcare service providers and in sign language employment. She provided valuable insights into the current situation in Europe.
- Paal Richard Peterson explored the legal and policy grounds underpinning the right to healthcare, emphasising international legal tools, the CRPD Convention, and relevant EU-level instruments and political initiatives.
- Andy Van Hoorebeke highlighted strategies for achieving the highest attainable standard of health for Deaf people, including modifications to healthcare services and the promotion of sign language usage in healthcare settings.
- David Buxton outlined policy recommendations aimed at achieving equal access to healthcare for Deaf persons in the EU, including the inclusion of sign languages in healthcare environments and measures to ensure equality and non-discrimination.
Insights from Spanish NAD (CNSE)
The seminar featured presentations from CNSE representatives:
- Alba Prado Mendoza presented the report “Encuesta sobre salud integral y mujeres sordas” (“Study on comprehensive health and deaf women”). She discussed the main barriers faced by deaf women in accessing healthcare services and shared insights from the report, as well as steps to provide effective healthcare services for this demographic.
- Maialen Olea Martinez presented the report “Personas Sordas y Salud Mental” (“Deaf people and Mental Health”). She addressed the barriers for Deaf individuals in accessing mental healthcare, shared data and analysis from the report, and highlighted good practices and initiatives in this domain.
Q&A Session and Conclusion
Following the presentations, a robust 30-minute Q&A session allowed participants to engage with the speakers, seeking clarification and further insights on the topics discussed. The seminar concluded with a forward-looking discussion on the way forward and the importance of ongoing collaboration and advocacy.
Active Involvement for a Brighter Future
This seminar stands as a testament to the commitment of the European Union of the Deaf (EUD) and the Spanish Association of the Deaf (CNSE) to promoting equal access to healthcare for Deaf individuals across Europe. By critically examining the European Pillar of Social Rights and offering concrete policy recommendations, these organisations are actively working towards a future where Deaf individuals can access healthcare services without barriers.