Holby City

Hello…..hellooooooo *echoes bounced off the empty auditorium*. I won’t be surprised if no-one here to read this. I haven’t flexed my writing skills for a long time which, since I last wrote, have been mainly confined to writing rapid-fire emails in my line of work.

I absolutely agree with the sentiments and the necessity for various orgs and bodies to write in to express their concerns about the latest portrayal of a child being used as an involuntary sign language interpreter in a recent Holby City’s episode surrounding a deaf father undergoing a heart op. It is good to educate the people who made it.

While we are expressing our dismay and horror about how negative this portrayal have turned out to be and bite our nails whether this is laying down precedence and further malpractices, I can see how we can turn this into a useful platform to bolster the case for better and accessible services within the public health services.

After watching a See Hear segment which covered this episode behind the scene, following Memnos Costi and his talented daughter, Kachina. It doesn’t strike to me that the Holby City team have gone about and blithely nailed down this story as a normal everyday theme. I believe they are actually deliberately making a snapshot of what does goes on within our wards which have, unwittingly, provoked a strong debate about it. Of course, this recent episode goes against the grain to our aspirations of what make a good health service. Holby City isn’t a mainly aspirational program as it tackles different issues each week and I am sure we are not the first or last people to complain about their portrayal of different issues.

This shouldn’t be the end. This is gold dust for our campaign for better access to health services as it is all laid out before our own eyes of what can go wrong by not providing an accessible health service. We should lobby the Holby City’s writers to make a follow up story. We should lobby health care professionals showing an example of bad practice. We should lobby to raise awareness of the importance for front line NHS staff to quickly provide the right and appropriate communication support as too often they just don’t do it. We should lobby the commissioners and NHS procurement teams to highlight the dangers of a weak and inefficient supply chain which undermine provision of appropriate qualified sign language interpreters through cost-saving. We can think plenty of scenarios to follow up this episode featuring Memnos and his daughter. Don’t let this golden geese run away from us. Any publicity is good.

Life-saving skills – in BSL

This is great. Vital life-saving skills made accessible in British Sign Language. They have been created by British Red Cross and it is presented by Fifi Garfield. Kudos to British Red Cross for taking this initiative at their own expense and despite the fact that they are volunteer-led organistation. It is nice to see someone putting lives above the money. Public inter-governmental services should hang their heads in shame.

See more here.

Cancelling it all out

Terp all sold outA thought struck me last night. Ow!

Recently, there was a public event in which I have been badgering the organisers for some time to provide an BSL (British Sign Language) interpreter. It was a job recruitment/open day for a new hotel opening and I have been telling my clients to go and attend.

Later, it transpired that the interpreter never turned up and I had disgruntled clients complaining about that fact. So, I tried to get to the bottom of it and discovered that the interpreter cancelled the booking at the last minute.Yes, you read that right – cancelled. But the event was not cancelled to 500 hearing people who had no problem in vying for 25 jobs that need to be filled.

I do not know the full reasons behind the cancellation but there was deaf people who travelled a long way to be there and it was a complete waste of time cos no interpreter. I feel if the interpreter cancel the booking then it should be their obligation to find a replacement – no question nor quibble. If they have to use a very expensive emergency interpreter, yes I would insist. It is an opportunity not to be missed.

I would insist because it is also a well-known fact that interpreters will charge YOU cancellation fee if you cancel the booking or change the booking in any way. I do know that some interpreters would usually have a backup job or have no trouble filling up the booking – to double their money.

What happened if the interpreter who cancel the booking or fail to turn up?

How about I start charging BSL interpreters a cancellation fee because of my time have been spent on informing people about availability of interpreter, printing out leaflets, posting it and pestering job centre with phone call after phone call to provide an interpreter? Oh yes, and not forgetting the travel costs and food for the deaf people who turned up on the day. I wish I could put a price on frustration and despair bubbled up on the day and add that to the bill.

It is not a healthy consumer market as we are at the mercy of these service providers. We, the consumers, should be able to have more power to redress these things and whenever we book, it stay booked.