Friday, 24 March 2017

CAB to develop BSL services...

New Health equality practice checks on healthcare UK

We've had the law since 1995, now they will check to see if it being enforced ?

Inspections carried out into general practices by NHS regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will include new objectives from next month that seek to ensure better equality for all patient groups.

The CQC has published new equality objectives for 2017-19 in a document intended to target inequality in health and social care.  The regulator said that despite progress on equality, people from some equality groups were still less likely to receive good quality health and social care.

It wants to check during inspections that providers make person-centred care work for everyone, from all equality groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people using adult social care or mental health inpatient services.  The CQC has set an objective to look at reducing barriers and improving access to primary care for migrants, asylum seekers, Gypsies and Travellers, to help address their poor health outcomes.

It will also look at how people in specific equality groups are supported on referral, transfer between services - including adult social care services and health services - on discharge from hospital and in primary care.

From October, the CQC will:

Add a specific question to its Provider Information Request forms (PIR) on person centred care and equality.

Have inspectors examine these issues on inspection.

Build on the PIR response and support this with guidance and informal learning.

Identify, promote and share outstanding practice.

Communicating its expectations to providers and to people who use services by gathering their views.

In addition, the CQC will share information and intelligence with Healthwatch England on inequality.

In the first year of the new objectives (2017-18), the initial focus will be on how providers ensure person-centred care for older BME (black and minority ethnic) people using GP practices, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who use adult social care and mental health inpatient services, and for people with dementia in acute hospitals.

For year two (2018-19), the regulator said it would review progress in the first year’s areas before determining its next focus.

The CQC said that through its inspections, it would also look at how providers were meeting the new Accessible Information Standard introduced last year, which applies to disabled people who have information and communication needs, for example, deaf people or people with a learning disability.

Software that is helping people with disabilities

closed captioning weathermanFCC rules require TV stations to provide closed captions that convey speech, sound effects, and audience reactions such as laughter to deaf and hard of hearing viewers. YouTube isn’t subject to those rules, but thanks to Google’s machine-learning technology, it now offers similar assistance.

YouTube has used speech-to-text software to automatically caption speech in videos since 2009 (they are used 15 million times a day). Today it rolled out algorithms that indicate applause, laughter, and music in captions. More sounds could follow, since the underlying software can also identify noises like sighs, barks, and knocks.

The company says user tests indicate that the feature significantly improves the experience of the deaf and hard of hearing (and anyone who needs to keep the volume down). “Machine learning is giving people like me that need accommodation in some situations the same independence as others,” says Liat Kaver, a product manager at YouTube who is deaf.

Indeed, YouTube’s project is one of a variety that are creating new accessibility tools by building on progress in the power and practicability of machine learning. The computing industry has been driven to advance software that can interpret images, text, or sound primarily by the prospect of profits in areas such as ads, search, or cloud computing. But software with some ability to understand the world has many uses.

Last year, Facebook launched a feature that uses the company’s research on image recognition to create text descriptions of images from a person’s friends, for example.

Researchers at IBM are using language-processing software developed under the company’s Watson project to make a tool called Content Clarifier to help people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities such as autism or dementia. It can replace figures of speech such as “raining cats and dogs” with plainer terms, and trim or break up lengthy sentences with multiple clauses and indirect language.

Blind & Deaf care inadequate...

Problems - Patients with sensory impairments face 'significant issues' with their care, a report claims.
Health services for the deaf and blind in Essex have been slammed in a new report on the county’s care services.

The latest public engagement project from Healthwatch Essex – the independent charity that provides a voice for the people of Essex on health and care services – has highlighted the significant issues of more than 180,000 people with sensory impairments face when accessing and using health and care services in the county.

In 2016, the Accessible Information Standard was introduced, making it a legal requirement for all NHS or adult social care organisations to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information they can easily read or understand and to communicate effectively. Despite this, Healthwatch Essex’s new report highlights a range of difficulties people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, sight impaired or severely sight impaired or Deafblind experience on a regular basis.

Key findings of the report are the impact on dignity and quality of life and the loss of autonomy and confidentiality. Many participants highlighted the fact they often needed to get a family member or carer to make appointments for them, which was inconvenient and in some cases compromised their patient confidentiality.  Regular problems included stiff and rigid booking systems, poor recording and sharing of information and people not receiving information and communication in their preferred format.

Dr Tom Nutt, Healthwatch Essex Chief Executive, said: “One profoundly deaf participant told us that when she asked a receptionist: ‘How do deaf people make appointments?’, her reply was to shrug her shoulders and say: ‘We’ve never had a complaint before’.

“A blind participant told us of an experience where a receptionist told him to, ‘go and take a seat over there!’. Not thinking that ‘over there’ could be construed as just a tad ambiguous by a blind person!  “People told us what they most valued was to be treated as an individual so they can take control where possible.”

He added: “They don’t want to repeat their story at each consultation and they want to encounter friendly, helpful staff who provide them with information in a format that is suitable for them. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask.”

Thursday, 23 March 2017

NHIR Scanning Research of emerging Technology....

Image result for NIHR Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre
The NIHR Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre has published a horizon scanning review of new and emerging technologies that are being developed for the management and reduction of the negative consequences of hearing loss.

More than 11 million, (approximately one in six) people in the UK are affected by hearing loss, the majority (92%) experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss. The likelihood of hearing loss increases with age, with more than 70% of 70 year-olds experiencing some form of hearing loss. Hearing loss is however, not uncommon in children; there are over 45,000 children in the UK who have a profound hearing loss.

We identified 55 technologies that fitted the identification criteria: five educational programmes, six auditory and cognitive training programmes, five assistive listening devices, eleven hearing aids (HAs) and alternative listening devices, eight implants and devices, twelve drugs, one regenerative medicine approach, and seven surgical procedures. Most of the developments were in early or uncertain clinical research and would require additional evaluation before widespread adoption by patients and the NHS.

Experts and patients picked out technologies of interest including: apps for converting speech to text and sign language to speech, hearing aids and alternative listening devices to support listening in different environments, a fully implantable cochlear implant (CI) system, a closed-loop CI system, and three developments to support the tuning and optimisation of HAs. If these were successful they have the potential to change the CI landscape for patients, improve patient experience and use of HAs, and to affect service delivery and provision.

Deaf V Deaf ?

Image result for deaf versus hearing
How just 3% of deaf people want to isolate the other 97% with deafness and loss. Deafism rule! Another extremist rant from the Deaf thought police central and home of loony tunes Inc aka Last Hiccup, (We wish it was their last!), with enough 'isms' to keep you occupied for the next 50 years.  

Far from 'identifying' deaf hate, he promotes it and extreme viewpoints that are anti-hearing, anti-deaf, anti-HoH, anti-CIs', anti-hearing aids, anti-genetic choices, and anti-parental decisions, and still hating a man dead a 100 years... is there ANYTHING LH does support ? Read on as Last Hiccup rants about those awful 'Hearing students'.

Gallaudet University: The biggest mistake is to allow hearing students at Gallaudet in early 1990’s. That is why it is also much diversion in Deaf community.

The bigger mistake was putting all deaf activism in one place and allowing Gallaudet to be a hot bed of radicalism, where we saw 'hearing hate' and oral-using deaf hate in action..

DPN was a series of hard-fought, locally and nationally organized campaigns, shining the lights of the media to challenge hearing privileges and employment that hearing people took away from Deaf people who are highly qualified for the jobs.

Not true, ASL student activists rioted, caused criminal damage, and closed down classes, denying educational access to their peers.  They even objected to their own diversity representation officer to make Gallaudet LESS diverse, and subjected teaching staff to the 'Deaf Inquisition' to ascertain if they were pro extreme ASL culture or not.

Blocking and closing classes which prevented access to Higher education they need to compete for jobs.  Hardly encouraging people to support integration, inclusion or equality, unless living in a vacuum is their idea of equality, and isolating deaf from the rest of the world.

It saddens me to see that Deaf against Deaf. How can we make it feel like 1988? 

Or even like 1880 ?  not going to happen, this is 2017, get real !


As is typical for these extremists, feedback and challenges aren't allowed. Welcome to cultural equality in action.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Don't leave me out !

Access versus fairness.

Image result for stop the PIP assessments !
More and more details emerging of biased and discriminatory assessments for PIP by the state welfare arm the DWP and through their 'agents' Capita and ATOS.  

As more upset is being expressed by disabled and deaf alike of poor and amateurish assessments of need by obviously unqualified people, it emerged that even being given British sign language support can be detrimental to you qualifying for welfare if you are deaf.  Read on:-

"My partner was not assessed for her issue at all in real terms, she was born deaf with no speech, and the assessor was a physiotherapist (!) who did not address my partner directly at all, but through a BSL interpreter, the view was my partner had no issues of note as she had support for the interview, but none of her questioning was directed at the problem of her being deaf or difficulties of communicating. 

In retrospect should I have REFUSED to accept DWP BSL interpreter help ? and forced the assessor to do her job properly and put huge stress on my partner as a result ? these are the sort of things that really undermine any sort of accurate assessment taking place. I have no doubt whatever had we not applied for BSL communication support the assessment would have been impossible, but it would have displayed her obvious need for PIP."

Just one of many concerns being raised at the UK's determined assault on its disabled and deaf population.  The sting in the tail was the DWP insisting if you make their assessors do their job properly, then this is deliberate attempt to frustrate assessment. heads or tails, you lose.

UK's Oxfam: The UK most unequal country in the world ?

Deaf Brutality with the police...

12 Deaf Plaintiffs Sue Banner Health for Lack of ASL

Accessibility KeyboardTwelve deaf individuals filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Arizona on March 13 against Banner Health, which operates hospitals, surgery centers and urgent care centers in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. (Cook et al v. Banner Health, U.S. Dist. Ct., Arizona, Filed 03/13/2017, Case # 2:17-cv-00758-JJT.)

Allegation: Failure to Provide ASL Interpreters and Communication Aids

The complaint alleges that Banner Health "discriminated against plaintiffs by failing to provide on-site ASL interpreters when necessary, by providing malfunctioning Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) systems, by failing to adequately train its personnel in the use of VRI systems, and by requiring the plaintiffs to reply upon other means of communication, including passing of notes and/or lip reading, that are inadequate for the medical treatment required by the Plaintiffs and the services required by their companions."

Claims: ADA, Rehabilitation Act, §1557 of ACA and Common Law "Battery"

The complaint alleges that Banner Health's failure to provide ALS interpreters and other communication assistance violates: (1) The anti-discrimination clause of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); (2) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which prohibits discrimination against disabled persons by entities receiving federal funds such as Medicaid reimbursements; (3) the prohibitions on both disability and limited English proficiency discrimination within Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which also prohibits discrimination under health programs or activities receiving federal funds; (4) the Arizonans with Disabilities Act; (5) the common law prohibition against "battery" as the alleged lack of effective communication resulted in a lack of informed consent for medical treatment.

Relief Sought

The complaint seeks a range of relief and remedies including an Order to require Banner Health to adopt policies and procedures to provide a range of assistive communication tools including a high-quality VRI system, provide staff qualified to operate the VRI system, enhance availability of American Sign Language interpreters, train staff in legal requirements, and award applicable actual, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees.

Trend: Dramatic Increase in Accessibility and Communication Litigation

Multiple similar lawsuits by deaf or hearing impaired individuals have been filed against hospitals around the country in recent weeks. The increase in litigation may also be linked to the hundreds of lawsuits filed in the past two years related to allegedly "inaccessible" websites in violation of the ADA. For more information, read ”Healthcare Sector is Newest Target for Website Accessibility Lawsuits.”

Deaf support strike: 16 days and counting...

Workers, with support from clients, walk a picket line Tuesday outside the Canadian Hearing Society office on Wellington Street  in London.  The local agency has about a dozen staff on strike. (Norman De Bono/The London Free Press)
Workers, with support from clients, walk a picket line Tuesday outside the Canadian Hearing Society office on Wellington Street  in London.  The local agency has about a dozen staff on strike.  Critical services for more than 6,000 deaf people in the London area are curtailed as a strike drags on.

The union claims the Canadian Hearing Society is dragging its feet on returning to the bargaining table, keeping 227 workers off the job across Ontario. “The employer is refusing to come to the table. There are outstanding issues,” said Barbara Wilker-Frey, national representative for Local 2073 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“We have been ­communicating with them every other day for two weeks, and there has been no ­uptake.”  The London office employs about a dozen people and covers Middlesex, Oxford, Huron, Elgin and Perth counties and parts of Bruce and Grey counties.  Classes for new immigrants are among the programs curtailed by the strike, affecting about a dozen deaf refugees and immigrants trying to learn both English and sign language.

“The impact is huge. The deaf and hard-of-hearing community relies on us for interpretation, for employment assistance and for auditory services including hearing aids and repairs,” Wilker-Frey said. But Gary Malkowski, vice-­president at the Canadian Hearing Society and member of the executive bargaining team, said the union walked away from the table.

“CHS had requested bargaining continue to potentially avoid a labour disruption. After communicating their intent to strike, CUPE handed a new offer to Ministry of Labour mediators but their offer was not financially sustainable,” he stated in an email.

The workers, who have been without a collective agreement for four years, walked off the job March 6.  About 40 per cent of striking workers are deaf. Melkowski said the society is working to maintain services.“We have been able to ensure all priority and essential clients’ needs are met through our services or through partner agencies. We have a robust strike plan which focuses on limiting the risk to the people we serve.”

Staying connected, informed and empowered in Europe.

Staying connected, informed and empowered
Just about the first such event FOR HoH exclusively in many years, but not about equality !

An international event hosted jointly by the National Association of Deafened People (NADP) and the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People ( EFHOH) . This is a unique opportunity to meet delegates from hard of hearing communities across Europe.

The event provides an opportunity for you to hear directly from the most senior leaders in hearing care and the disability movement, discover innovative work led by industry, and network with colleagues from across the sector.

Speakers: Penny Mordaunt MP ( UK Minister for Disabled People) Dr. Laszlo Lovaszy (Expert at the UN CRPD Committee and EU Parliament Advisor), Lilian Greenwood (MP for Nottingham South), Søren Hougaard (Secretary General of the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association), Mark Laureyns (President of the European Association of Hearing Care Professionals), Gareth Ford - Williams (Head of Accessibility, BBC Design and Engineering), Sarah Herlinger ( Senior Manager for Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple) and David Bradshaw (Digital TV Group) are already confirmed to speak at the Conference.