Kerry Deaf Resource Centre Update 01.02.16

In a previous newsletter, we gave information on how a sign language
interpreter can be booked in Co. Kerry for Doctor/GP & Kerry General
Hospital appointments.

Since then we have had a number of enquiries as to how an interpreter can be
booked in other counties in Ireland.

We emailed the HSE who put us in touch with Margaret in SLIS- the Sign
Language Interpreting Service based in Dublin.

Margaret has given us the following information:

· For the first appointment, the Medical Practice sends a letter/email to
the HSE General Manager, giving the details of the Deaf client (Name,
Address, Medical/GP Card no) & request for an interpreter

· The HSE approves the funding of the interpreter.

· The Medical Practice books the interpreter directly or through an
interpreting agency.

·The HSE are the billing address for the interpreter/agency.

Margaret also gave us a Memorandum from John Hennessy, National Director,
Primary Care HSE. This follows on from a memo from Laverne McGuinness, Chief
Operating Officer issued on 13th June 2013 regarding Access to Qualified
Sign Language Interpreters in Hospital and Primary Care Settings.

John’s memo provided clarification regarding the provision of Sign Language
Interpreters for medical card holders attending their GP.
John stated “The Disability Act 2005 and the Equal Status Act 2004 place a
legal duty on health and social care providers to ensure that services
provided are accessible and make provision for a person’s disability. This
includes the provision of a qualified sign language interpreter.

The engagement of an interpreter is considered an integral part of the
service being provided, not only to comply with our legislative
responsibility, but also because failure to make appropriate provision for a
person’s communication difficulty may result in avoidable serious risks and
errors for both the service user
and health care provider.

Interpreting services are essential to assist GPs gather the relevant
information in order to make the correct diagnosis and in the process of
gaining informed consent.

As a medical card is provided in cases of financial hardship, service users
are not in a position to pay for an interpreter themselves. There is
currently no provision made for GPs to pay for an interpreter under their
GMS contract. We are working with the National Advocacy Unit to develop a
national policy, which will
provide detailed guidance for services.

However, this matter requires urgent action, as there have been an increased
number of incidences reported in relation to the refusal to provide Sign
Language interpreters in GP settings. It is essential that provision is made
to ensure that service users can access GPs with the assistance of a
qualified interpreter in a timely manner.

Pending completion of the national guidance, please be advised that where a
medical card holder whose primary language is Sign Language is attending a
GP appointment, the GP may arrange for a qualified Sign Language Interpreter
to attend the appointment.

The cost of this appointment should be borne by the Area Manager’s Office
and invoices should be directed accordingly. In this regard, GPs with a GMS
contract will be notified of these interim arrangements.

Costs borne in this regard should be noted in order to inform further
planning around development of a model for provision of interpreting

Please bring this advice and the enclosed memo to the attention of all
relevant staff within your remit.
Yours sincerely, John Hennessy, National Director, Primary Care,
Office of the National Director Primary Care, Health Service Executive, Dr
Steevens Hospital, Steevens Lane, Dublin 8

Kerry Deaf Resource Centre.
4 Gas Tce, Tralee, Co. Kerry, IRELAND
V92 Y409

KDRC provides services to Deaf and hard of hearing people at county level
and contributes to national & international issues of equality, access and

Charity Number CHY20854
To donate, go to:

Text: (+353) 87 633 4687
Tel: (+353) 66 712 0399
E-mail: [email protected]
Skype: kerrydeaf (by appointment)
FaceTime: [email protected] (by appointment)
FaceTime: (+353) 87 633 4687 (by appointment)