North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) volunteers, Ben and Nicola, are members of the organisation's Patient and Public Panel (PPP) and both work for Deafway, a Preston-based charity for deaf people. Ben is profoundly deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate.
Ben volunteers in the influence level of involvement in the PPP, which means he regularly participates in meetings, including NWAS' Cumbria and Lancashire area learning forums and digital strategy sessions.
“I work as a communities engagement officer for Deafway, helping to improve access for the deaf community who face so many barriers in their daily lives.
“Joining the PPP allowed me to engage with NWAS and give the deaf community a voice. NWAS already has a text 999 service for deaf people, which is fantastic. I’m currently working with colleagues there to improve the pictorial handbook – a tool for ambulance crews to use to help patients who are hard of hearing or may have language barriers.”
Nicola is Ben’s manager and also volunteers in our influence level and has supported several projects; “I have been working for Deafway for many years as their fundraising and development manager. We help provide support for people who are deaf, particularly by promoting equal access in all parts of society.
“We’re also really pushing service providers to become more deaf-aware. If you’re a profoundly deaf British Sign Language-user (BSL), the obstacles to accessing services are pretty profound as BSL is very different from standard English.
Joining the PPP has enabled Deafway to work more closely with NWAS to help them to increase accessibility for deaf patients.”
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