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Date: 29 May 2023

Time: 03:10

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Bespoke sign language course for staff

Story posted/last updated: 03 November 2014

The first specially tailored British Sign Language (BSL) course has been delivered to University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) staff to help provide a more rewarding experience for deaf patients.

The bespoke sign language session was provided for front-line Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) staff within Ambulatory Care in order to help communicate with patients arriving at the hospital with hearing difficulties.

And the session was so well received on September 26 by the 12 Ambulatory Care staff that another has already been earmarked for December.

Senior Trainer Satvinder Aulak said: “The first sign language courses came about because I was trained in BSL, so I decided to take it forward and introduce it to the Trust in consultation with the Learning and Development team.

“We run two BSL sessions a month within the Trust. They started a year ago, but this was the first bespoke session we have done after I was asked by Ambulatory Care.

“They really enjoyed it and really embraced the learning of BSL, and now Ambulatory Care want me to do another bespoke session for them.”

Mr Aulak said he had an interest in learning sign language out of work.

He explained: “It’s another language and I have friends in the deaf community.

“The main course I do is an introduction to British Sign Language which provides basic skills such as learning the alphabet, how to greet deaf patients, and learning how to give directions, which is particularly useful for our meet and greet staff.

“It is all part of the hospital trust’s policy of equality and diversity, with the main ethos being how we can provide our deaf patients with a beneficial experience.”

He added that Ambulatory Care see a number of deaf patients who come in to the hospital, so the bespoke session was tailored to that area with ‘signed’ questions such as ‘which doctor do you want to see’?

Nicholas Drinkwater, Lead Professional Development Nurse Ambulatory Care Division A, said they had received “fantastic feedback” from the 12 staff involved in the initial bespoke session.

He said: “We tend to have a lot of ENT patients, such as those with cochlear implants, so we thought it would be beneficial for staff to have BSL training.

“It provides our staff with an outlook and makes the patients feel more at ease if they have learning difficulties and attend the hospital.

“We are now going to set up regular sessions so staff can keep up with BSL skills.”


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