Help us improve British Sign Language (BSL) services for the NHS in Leeds

Lead: NHS Leeds CCG

Period: 3rd Sep 2019 - 20th Oct 2019

We are currently reviewing our contract to provide British Sign Language Interpreting Services (BSL) and Deafblind Communicator Guide services to GP practices in Leeds.

Brief description of the project

NHS Leeds CCG pays for a BSL and Deafblind Communicator Guide service to support people who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind to access primary care services in Leeds. The existing contract will end in March 2020 and we want to review the current service and use feedback from the deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind community to improve the service.

Who do we want to hear from? 

We would like to speak to members of the deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind community and services in Leeds that support this community.

What are we asking?

We will review existing feedback about our services and share this with people from the deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind community. We will ask people if our understanding of the needs and preferences of this community are correct and ask for help to identify any gaps in our knowledge.

How can you share your views? 

On Wednesday 2 October, we hosted an event to help us improve service provision throughout the region.  The event took place  between 9.30am and 1pm at The Gather at Munro House, in Leeds city centre. Interpreters were on hand at the event and the information gathered was collected as part of an evaluation piece that will help inform our next steps.

If you were unable to attend the event you can share your views by completing our survey below (even if you managed to attend we would still appreciate your feedback via the survey):

Have your say on BSL services in Leeds

What do we already know? 

At an event in 2014, Deaf people and hearing-impaired people told us that they sometimes find it difficult to access health services in Leeds.

Some of the things they told us were:

  • It can be difficult to make an appointment.
  • Some staff in health care services don’t understand how to communicate with Deaf people and hearing-impaired people.
  • People found it hard to complain when they wanted to.
  • It was sometimes difficult when people were referred to other services, for example, mental health services.

It is important to us that we understand the needs of the Deaf/deaf community. This engagement will help us to make sure we are not missing anything that you have told us. The feedback will be used to develop a service plan for BSL services in primary care. Primary care is the care that you get from your GP.

What will we do?

We will use people’s feedback to develop a new BSL Interpreting service for primary care in Leeds. We will also speak with other commissioners and providers in Leeds to understand how we can work as a system to provide a comprehensive and joined up BSL Interpreting service.

If you have any questions about this engagement please email us at or call on 0113 84 35450. 


Useful information and links:

British Sign Language (BSL) Healthy Day – Healthwatch report (6,104KB)

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 BSL Assessment and Care Management Engagement Event – Draft Report (926KB)

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Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People Event Report (1,006KB)

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Interpreting and Translation in Primary Care 

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