Dear Mr Powell,
We are writing to you as an open letter from The Tree House group on Facebook and blog (https://viewsfromthetreehouse.com/), we are disappointed to find that there is lack of subtitles on videos that SignHealth have produced.
We would like to remind you that The Tree House Group represents some of the 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK and we promote diversity, which means we welcome people of all backgrounds including all communication techniques they use. No one is inferior or superior to one another as we are all in the same situation.
We want to make a few points regarding your lack of subtitles on your videos
• There are approximately 10 million deaf and hard of hearing people – 1 in 6 people in the United Kingdom whereas there are approximately 17000 BSL dependent users.
• We believe that subtitling the videos will enable SignHealth to reach out more people who may be deaf oral, use signed supported English, hands on signing for deafblind. Reaching out to the deaf/deafened/hard of hearing people will make your cause stronger than ever because you have more people supporting the cause.
• We know for a fact that deaf people with various communication mechanisms do have problems with healthcare,
o Not enough time to familiarise with a doctor
o Inability to lipread doctors with accent
o Wrong assumptions about lipreading and mistaking that we actually understood everything.
o Inability to book communication support in urgent appointments
o Lipspeakers in short supply
o Having to use family, friends for communication support and many more to list.
• We want to be part of and support SignHealth, because of the problems we all have encountered in the NHS, but not having the subtitles in BSL videos makes it exclusive. It makes us feel that we are being discriminated for using other forms of communication not BSL.
• We would like to ask what are SignHealth’s aims? Are you focusing on the deaf people as whole or deaf people who rely on BSL?
We hope SignHealth would consider our request for subtitles on your videos to be taken into consideration, because we strongly believe that you will reach out to more deaf people who require your help. There are softwares that subtitles can be created on videos, as most of us have managed to do it when we make videos for The Treehouse group. If you wish to know more, please contact the admins of Treehouse Group.
We look forward to hearing your response on this issue within 7 days.
The Tree House team;
In addition, members of the public.