Other sources of support
Being a patient can often be confusing. You are confronted with lots of people and places that might be unfamiliar. It is often hard to know your way around the system, or to know where to turn for support.
Some sources of support are highlighted below.
Support with drugs or alcohol
Information can be found here.
Unhappy with service
Imagine you are having problems with the Audiology Department of your local hospital. You may have let them know you are not happy, but nothing has changed.
One possible solution is to approach the hospital's Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS). The PALS staff should take your problem seriously and support you. They might, for instance, let the Audiology Department know what they are doing wrong, or arrange a meeting.
Another possible solution would be do let your GP know. Your GP 'buys' the audiology service for you. If there are problems they will want to know. A letter from your GP to the Audiology Consultant could well improve the situation.
It could be that you are happy with the health service. But, you might want to know more about a health problem, or see whether there are any support groups (either nationally or locally). The PALS is, again, a good place to turn. They should be able to point you in the right direction, and can make enquiries for you.
If you have access to the internet then www.patient.co.uk is a very good website. This has details of medical problems and groups that offer support.
Emotional and mental health support
If you are feeling suicidal then the Samaritans will support you. They can be contacted by SMS (text 07725 90 90 90), e-mail (email@example.com), or textphone/minicom 08457 90 91 92.
The MindinfoLine (0845 766 0163) can provide information and support on mental health problems and accepts TypeTalk calls. Saneline can also be contacted by TypeTalk (0845 767 8000).
One of the biggest problems remains lack of access to services. All parts of the health service should be able to provide a suitably qualified BSL interpreter. However, there are occasions when an interpreter cannot be booked in time. To fill this gap, health staff can use SignHealth. This allows a doctor to click on a question, which is then signed on the screen.
Below are listed organisations that have resources (books, videos, courses) that are aimed at deaf people. We hope this list will grow.
Specialist provider of books relating to deafness, sign language and Deaf culture. They have a huge selection of materials.
Produced a DVD on sexual health. Ideal for young deaf people.
Publish information on mental health and wider health issues. Can also signpost you to other resources.
Have developed a number of courses, videos and information packs. Topics include cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke.