Hands On is off for Easter but will be back with more great programmes on Sunday the 30th of March. You can watch past programmes by clicking the link below.
Tune in this Sunday for the second part of our report on the biggest crisis facing the Irish Deaf Community today. We return to look at how Deaf people are being denied access to the most basic public services, the most worrying of these being the health services - including hospitals.
The main reason for this is a lack of awareness among the health services and the Deaf community about their right to access services through Irish Sign Language Interpreters. A right that is enshrined in the Disability Act and Equal Status Act.
This week we look at the shortage of Interpreters in Ireland. We currently have less than 50 ISL/English Interpreters, of which only 13 are registered to work in medical or legal situations. This compares poorly to a country like Finland, who have a similar Deaf population but where there are 630 registered Interpreters. We meet Lorraine Leeson, director of Trinity College's Centre for Deaf Studies and Anne Coogan from the national Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) to ask what is being done about the shortage.
We also meet members of the Deaf community and health professionals to ask about their views and experiences, among them, Teresa Lynch, who tells of her experience with the US maternity services and her subsequent campaign for improved access to maternity services here. Eddie Redmond has a frightening story about being admitted to hospital for a simple finger surgery and how a communication breakdown meant he almost had a triple bypass instead. Mary Stringer, a hearing child of Deaf parents tells us how interpreting for her critically ill father as a teenager led to an extremely dangerous situation and Professor Arnie Hill from Beaumount Hospital also expresses his views on treating Deaf patients without an interpreter.
Finally Niall Crowley from the Equailty Autrority explains how you should and can go about making a complaint if you feel a service provider has not fufilled their obligations under the Equal Status Act.
Don't miss all this vital information on Hands On this Sunday at 10.45am on RTÉ One!
NB: In the first programme about access to the health services we mentioned that SLIS have received €3 million in funding from the government. It has come to our attention that this information is not correct and that this figure does not accurately represent the level of funding the agency receives. We would like to apologise for this mistake.