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Easter 2020 – Updates

Deaf Australia submitted ‘Issues and Challenge with Telehealth Service and Medical Services for Auslan users during Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the Advisory Committee formed by Morrison Government focusing on provision of medical supports for People with Disability. You can find this document here.

The document recommends the following:

  1. That the Government provide an instructional video in Auslan describing to deaf community how to use a Telehealth services, showing examples of different technologies (tablet, iPad, smartphone);
  2. That the Government fund deaf people through their NDIS or My Aged Care and individuals not eligible for either programs to cover their out-of-pocket costs for required use of video interpreting services;
  3. That the Government enter an agreement with reputable interpreting agencies to provide interpreting services for the telehealth service; whereby the agencies shall:
    • Be listed as primary Telehealth Interpreting Services;
    • Ensure that interpreters are appropriately qualified for these bookings; and
    • Be compensated for the service rendered. 
  4. That the COVID-19 National Health Plan (factsheet) to contain listings of agreed interpreting services available for Deaf people to make informed choices of which agency to use for their Telehealth appointment;
  5. In the case where a deaf person is required to be hospitalised, the hospital is responsible to source an interpreter through their current arrangement, however, interpreters must be provided with appropriate protection gear when required; 
  6. If the hospital is unable to bring an interpreter onsite, then they should use a video-enabled tablet to connect with the interpreter while providing care to the deaf patient; and
  7. The Department of Health to explore enhancing its remote hospital service to allow 3-way video-connections so that doctors can provide support remotely through remote interpreters with a deaf person in a medical service.

We also discussed with Department of Social Services the following topics:

  • Telehealth (as above)
  • Deaf children studying at home
  • Seniors requiring to stay at home with little or no communication supports

We also met with World Federation of the Deaf and is joined by New Zealand and Fiji to discuss the following topics:

  • Interpreter on TV
  • Deaf children’s education (study at home)
  • Access to medical services and
  • Use of technology and devices to enable access to essential services.

World Federation of the Deaf advised that the upcoming World Federation of the Deaf International Conference held in Thailand (2021) has not been changed but will monitor the situation, as with World Federation of the Deaf Congress in South Korea in 2023.

Thank you to deaf organisations and ASLIA for contribution to the work that Deaf Australia does.

Keep safe, stay well during the Easter Weekend.

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