Help your GP to be more accesible

View instructions in BSL below or here.

Despite the introduction of a law requiring NHS services to provide information in an accessible way, many people who are deaf or have hearing loss still struggle to access their GP.

Poor communication in waiting areas, lack of communication support such as a BSL interpreter, emergency telephone appointments for those who rely on lip-reading. These are just some of the ways people with hearing loss can encounter ineffective care or missed appointments.

This simple tool will enable you to let your GP surgery know how they can improve the accessibility of their services. Fill in the boxes to describe how your GP surgery wasn’t accessible and the changes you’d like to see. This will generate a personalised letter that you can send to your GP practice manager.

If you would like some assistance with writing this letter please email campaigns@hearingloss.org.uk

Help your GP to be more accessible

Please fill in the form below to generate your personalised letter. You'll be able to edit your email before you finish.

Have you had difficulty visiting or contacting your GP due to hearing loss or deafness?

For example:

  • I couldn’t book an appointment because your practice only allow bookings to be made over the telephone
  • I missed vital health information because your practice didn’t understand how to communicate with me

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  • Your practice only allows appointment bookings to be made over the telephone or in person making it difficult for people with hearing loss like myself to make appointments.
  • I was offered an emergency telephone appointment by my GP, but I cannot use the phone.
  • I missed my appointment as my name was called out in the waiting room but because I have hearing loss I didn’t hear it.
  • There is no hearing loop system at my GP surgery and I require this to hear the reception staff.
  • BSL is my first language but no interpreter was booked for my GP appointment
  • I felt unclear about my health advice because the GP didn’t speak clearly or allow enough time for me to communicate properly.

What changes would you like to see your GP practice make to become more accessible to people with hearing loss and who are deaf?

For example:

  • The GP surgery should offer a range of different contact methods for people who are deaf or have hearing loss
  • Your GP surgery should ensure they record and provide the communication support patients require

Read more

  • Your practice should offer a range of different contact methods for people who are deaf or have hearing loss, such as email, Text message, Textphone, Next Generation Text Relay (NGTR) and remote BSL video-interpreting services.
  • Online access is a simple and accessible way for many people with hearing loss to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions or receive test results. Many GP surgeries already offer online access for their patients – given the obvious accessibility benefits, these services should be extended.
  • Hearing loop systems should be available on the reception desk and in consultation areas and should be checked regularly to ensure they are working.
  • Doctors, nurses and other staff employed by your practice should follow simple communication tips such as speaking clearly and avoid obstructing their lip movements (this is particularly beneficial for people who lipread). This should be supported by deaf awareness training.
  • An appropriately qualified communication professional, such as a BSL interpreter, should be provided for everyone who needs one.
  • Online information about your practice should be made accessible for everyone. For example, you should consider producing BSL videos of key documents and other important information, such as complaints policies.