Reported by Evening Express – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media. 

THE UK Government has been told it can save lives if it follows Scotland’s lead on having sign language interpreters at daily coronavirus conferences.

SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has written to the Prime Minister calling on him to include sign language interpreters at the UK Government daily briefings to prevent those with hearing difficulties being further isolated because they are unable to understand government advice.

It comes after a leading Scots charity warned the information void could be “life-threatening” for people with hearing loss.

An estimated 12 million people suffer from hearing loss in the UK, with tens of thousands of people relying on British Sign Language (BSL) to understand important public health information.

Unlike the Scottish Government, the UK Government does not offer a BSL service which is both live and available on mainstream TV channels during daily briefings.

According to the British Deaf Association, the lack of interpreters could exclude around 151,000 deaf people across the UK from vital Covid-19 information.

Derek Todd, BSL consultant for deaf Scotland, told the Edinburgh Evening News: “This is a life-threatening issue. People in the deaf community are dying because of lack of information.

“Many deaf people are frightened to go to the shops in case they accidentally break the rules.”


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