Direct Access, the international award—winning accessibility consultancy has secured a four-year NHS Shared Business Services framework contract to supply sign language interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing patients.
Direct Access’ announcement takes place during national Deaf Awareness Week. The new framework provides vital communication services for NHS hospitals, medical clinics, GP and dental practices for both in and out patients across nine NHS regions. Direct Access won the opportunity to supply in eight regions including all of Scotland and Wales. Established in 2004, Direct Access is the UK’s leading accessibility consultancy advising organisations on physical access to premises.
At the height of the COVID pandemic Direct Access became a crucial supplier of ClearMasks™ which provided a clear vision panel for deaf and hard of hearing people to lipread the wearer.
“As lockdown restrictions ease and hospital appointments resume, providing sign language interpreters to enable deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate with medical professionals became the next logical step from suppling masks,” said Director Steven Mifsud, who is also profoundly deaf.
“We will be providing NRCPD registered sign language interpreters from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands for both routine and emergency medical appointments.”
“Direct Access is deaf-owned and deaf-run providing an inherent understanding of the barriers that deaf and hard of hearing people face. I am delighted our team will be addressing these barriers to ensure equitable access to healthcare for deaf people.”