HUDC’s Health Forum & First Aid Workshop
Saturday 7th September 2014
The Bridge, Christchurch Avenue, Harrow
After a Summer break, Harrow United Deaf Club was pleased to welcome all members back to the Deaf Club with an energetic session on Health. We also has VIPs in attendance including Deputy Mayor, Councillor Krishna Suresh and his wife Councillor Sasikala Suresh ; Navin Shah, GLA Assembly Member and his wife Councillor Rekha Shah and key speakers – Councillor Anne Whitehead, Cabinet Member Portfolio holder of Health, Well-being and Equalities and a deaf motorcyclist paramedic Richard Webb Stevens, from London Ambulance Service.
The event opened by Duty Mayor Councillor Krishna Suresh who is a proud Ambassador of Harrow United Deaf Club and praised the amazing work that HUDC have done in the past few years. He added that the Club is not only recognised within Harrow but on a national level, having been a runner up of both, the National Diversity Award 2012 and BDA’s Best Deaf Club 2012.
Councillor Anne Whitehead then explained about her key roles and responsibilities for Health in Harrow and shared some key areas of improvement in health services for deaf people including visual display board at GP surgeries, hospitals so patients can see when their name get called rather than missing out. She added that it is essential for all staff to be trained in Deaf Awareness. Some of the midwives are able to communicate in BSL. HUDC welcomes the positive news and opened up a forum to the members who shared their positive and negative experiences in health eg hospitals, GP, the inconsistency of standards across all health services and the poor accessibility of having to wait a month for a BSL interpreter for health appointments. Councillor Anne Whitehead took on board of the members’ concerns and agreed to take them back to the Council and NHS. In the meantime, Councillor Anne Whitehead is keen to hear more evidences of both poor practices and positive experiences of health services. To share your views, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a hot discussion on health, it was a welcome relief to have something hand on with a fantastic speaker – Richard Webb Steven, a Deaf motorcyclist Paramedic who gave a workshop on First Aid. He explained about his job, his passion for saving people’s lives and demonstrated on how to do CPR (resuscitation) onto a dummy – he explained that there are 3 different approaches to CPR for a baby, child and an adult. Everyone has an opportunity to practice on a dummy, to ensure they do the CPR right to save someone’s life until the Ambulance arrives. Richard supported everyone with the dummies as well as showing them the Ambulance that was parked outside the Deaf Club. It was a successful evening and many members commented on they found the workshop so hand on and extremely useful in saving someone’s life, a rare opportunity that they would have not have had from any mainstream services. This is particularly important as Richard is deaf and delivered his workshop in both speech and BSL and engaged directly with each member.
Asif Iqbal MBE, President of Harrow United Deaf club was pleased with the outcome of a successful evening – he stressed the importance of ensuring everyone have the right to health and well-being. He added: “It is crucial for health services to consult and engage with our members to ensure deaf people’s needs are met. I have heard and seen so many horrific stories of deaf people being neglected or delayed within the health services and this is not good for their health and well-being. Under the Equality Act and Human Right Act, it is the responsibility of health services to ensure accessibility and we will continue to work with Harrow Council and Harrow NHS to achieve this. This is one of the key area within BSL Charter that we have campaigned for, to ensure that deaf people are fully informed of what services are available and ensuring accessibility eg provision of BSL interpreters and deaf awareness among staff.”
“Having Deaf paramedic is a positive role model for all and enables our members to learn first-hand about First Aid/ CPR. Many hearing people including our Councillors were fascinated by Richard ’s presentation and supportive of our call for better communication and access to health services. We will continue to run thematic sessions at our monthly Deaf club to promote better awareness and work in partnership with other organisations/ services.”