Rachel is a 35-year-old culturally deaf female who has been supported by Sue, the n-compass Deaf Link worker, on many occasions as she struggled with mental and

physical health.

Sue had supported Rachel in making a formal complaint after not being provided with an interpreter service when she was unwell. The complaint resulted in contact from the Equality and Diversity lead and the NHS procurement team to better understand the needs of BSL users.

Regular meetings uncovered where mistakes were being made. For example, the current provider of interpreter services employed freelance staff, not understanding that professional BSL interpreters were required to be qualified and registered.

It is also recognised as good practice that BSL interpreter services should only provide BSL translation to ensure a complete understanding of what is needed from both a language and a cultural point of view.

Sue introduced them to an agency that could verify qualifications and registrations and explained what each translation service offered. The hospital now has a plan to contract with an appropriate translation service.

To further understand what’s needed and ensure the best practice is implemented, Rachel has been invited to meet staff from the local Mental Health team anddescribes her lived experiences around accessibility. Rachel has also featured in an inspirational video and has been nominated for a local award.