We have become the first NHS trust in the county – and only the second mental health trust in England – to sign the British Deaf Association’s BSL Charter, demonstrating our commitment to equality for Deaf people.
On Friday 9 May, Mark Todd and Steve Trenchard, our Chairman and Chief Executive, gathered with representatives of Derby’s Deaf community at Derby Deaf Club, Rycote Centre, on Parker Street to sign the BSL (British Sign Language) Charter and pledge to give Deaf people full access to the Trust’s mental health, learning disabilities and substance misuse services across Derby and Derbyshire.
Derby and Derbyshire has the highest population of Deaf people outside London, with over 1,600 British Sign Language users – a level that is three times the national average. As a result, we are already working closely with the BDA on research projects and have invited a BDA representative to sit on our stakeholder group on equality, called the 4Es Stakeholder Committee. We have also established ourselves as the first NHS trust to fund a mental health awareness training programme for Deaf community groups called ‘Mental Health First Aid’.
Through the BSL Charter, we have committed ourselves to:
• Ensure access for Deaf people to information and services
• Promote learning and high quality teaching of British Sign Language
• Support Deaf children and families
• Ensure staff working with Deaf people can communicate effectively in British Sign Language
• Consult with its local Deaf community on a regular basis.
A special task group has been set up by to make sure we deliver against these five pledges. A BDA officer will be part of this task group.
Robin Ash, Empowerment and Campaigns Officer at the British Deaf Association, said:
“We are delighted that Derbyshire Healthcare has decided to sign the BDA’s BSL Charter and commit itself to all five pledges. The charter seeks to encourage local authorities and public sector organisations to improve access to services for Deaf people, and in the process improve their lives. The British Deaf Association has already established a positive working relationship with Derbyshire Healthcare and the signing of the charter will no doubt strengthen that relationship still further.”
Steve Trenchard, Chief Executive of Derbyshire Healthcare, said:
“We are very proud to be the first NHS trust in Derbyshire, and only the second mental health trust in the country, to sign this commitment to Deaf people. Here at Derbyshire Healthcare, we believe in putting our patients and service users at the centre of everything we do, by being respectful, responsive and sensitive to their individual needs. We believe that, through the signing of the BSL Charter, we can further improve the way we serve our local communities and provide people who are Deaf and hearing impaired with even better support and treatment.”
View a British Sign Language version of this news story on on the British Deaf Association's website.