Deafness and hearing loss debate: 30 November 2017

Just another WordPress site

Deafness and hearing loss debate: 30 November 2017

order order before I call Jim Fitzpatrick to move the motion I just like to draw your attention to the fact that the the proceedings today are being made accessible for people who are deaf or have problems with hearing and are using British same language so if you could bear that in mind in the course of your contributions I think that would be helpful for everyone okay I call Jim Fitzpatrick to move the motion mr mchabe I better move that the hosters can settle deafness and hearing loss I speak a bit so a pleasure to see you and the chair today but even more pleased to see that our debate has been interpreted into sign language which the believers are a parliamentary fast so we may be making history in this debate which is great for all of us who are here too to participate in this event I’m grateful to the backbends business committee for the opportunity to open this debate I’m very pleased to see so many colleagues have been able to join us here and will be contributing to this important discussion it’s good to see the minister in this place even though it’s not exactly as brief and I look forward to hearing the wind-ups from the opposition spokespersons and the government in due course once a place on on record my thanks to the UK counsel and deafness action on hearing loss the National deaf Children’s Society deaf plus the adult cochlear implant action group and Brian lamb their flim Peaks GB access Bedford and three network for their assistance in preparing for this debate and of course the House of Commons library that’s all a long list mr. McKee but given that there are 11 million people across the UK living with hearing loss the list could have been much longer but the UK council and deafness for example represents 43 deaf or hearing loss organization so they produced a collective briefing I should record that I wear two hearing aids of my own and I’m chair of your party parliamentary group on Deafness there are too many issues and for me to raise personally mr. mchabe and it would be unfair of me not to share the time that we have as equitably as possible among those who are here so I’m going to focus on three key issues those will be access to what legal recognition of British sign language and the implementation of the national action plan on hearing loss and I’ve timed this at thirteen and a half minutes but just before I do I’d like to put a brief marker down on several other issues that I haven’t got time to raise in detail and they are cochlear implants I have an adjournment debate on this in March this year the minister responding advised that nice would consult by the end of the summer or new proposals that consultation is still awaited and any information for the minister would be very welcome I kept the question of improving pediatric or the ology services across the country my accrediting such services through the improving quality and physiological services program has been a request for some time I’d welcome an update on any progress either and voluntary accreditation or if unsatisfactory whether the government has given more thought to make it making it compulsory on Deaflympics any information from the necessary discussions says Department may have had with his colleagues at DCMS about support for our deaf athletes would be very welcome on Elias intervention the first three and a half years are critical for the development of listening and spoken language I’d be grateful that the Minister has had any update on government thinking about ensuring audio auditory-verbal as Peter on the patient pathway as a follow-up to the newborn hearing screening and finally some positive news on telecommunication services the briefing from three shared how they provide services for the deaf or hard of hearing customers and from deaf plus whose BSL advice line has this weekly shortlisted for a national help lines partnership award so well done them now in respects of the three issues I mentioned that the sharpness McCabe firstly access to what I think it’s important to acknowledge that one in six of our population is living with some form of hearing loss that’s around 11 million people estimates show nearly 90,000 use British same language as their first language the government’s access scheme provides grants to disabled people to allow them to have equal participation and the workforce access to what has revolutionized the career opportunities of deaf people shattering the glass ceiling that previously limited deaf people to manual

jobs it’s been largely due to access to what the deaf people have progressed as far as their tower allows and why there are no deaf chief executive officers death Ministry of Justice intermedius a deaf theatre directors among other senior senior professionals and March 2015 the den Minister announced however that the government were going to impose a clamp this cap means that the scheme will no longer properly support those deaf and disabled people for whom support costs are more expensive for deaf people who are self-employed or entrepreneurs there is no employer to make up the difference between the awards and in need and a recent answer the Department for Work and Pensions indicated that they were unable to provide figures for the number of people still in receipt of awards above the cap the UK Council of deafness conducted their own survey to establish the impact of the cap on deaf people the survey had 87 responses 60 from those who will be captain April 2018 which given that fewer than 200 people identified than the Equality assessment could be endless saturation this is a high response rate as a consequence deaf people tell is that they are already apply avoiding applying for work in professional managerial and senior roles that will be capped the cap on access to work awards risk imposing a glass ceiling for deaf and disabled people and their world 46 percent said they would not apply for promotions 20 percent said they had not applied because they were worried 44 percent said they would stay with current employer for as long as possible as they were worried about a new employer so in this respect mr. McCabe I asked of the Minister will the government look again at the evidence supposing the cap on access to water watts does the government accept that set at a level of forty two thousand one hundred pounds I know amended today by the secretary in his statement two forty three thousand pounds that that cap on access to work is too low and is still too low and if the minister will not remove the cap will it will he consider raising the cap to a level that provides deaf people with more of the support they need and finally has the government considered that it might inadvertently have created legitimate financial grounds on which employers can discriminate against BSL job applicants now I recognize these are mainly DWP issues of the gate for the minister would ensure that these are passed on and raised in the appropriate quarter if he can’t respond today but the Secretary’s say in response to my question and the chamber about an hour ago said that they were still looking at evidence on this and I would hope that means the door still open because the increase of a thousand pounds is it clearly doesn’t cut it in general employment terms that are hot doors for hearing loss people getting into work normally anyway are you gov savvy commissioned by action and hearing loss found thirty five percent of business leaders stated that they didn’t do not feel confident about their business employing a person with hearing loss fifty-seven percent agreed that there is a lack of support or advice available for employers about employing people with hearing loss and that access to work is still the DWP’s best-kept secret sixty-three percent of business leaders in a Yugo poll had never heard of access to work if I move on to British same language mr. mchabe BSL is the FASTA preferred language of over 80,000 deaf people in the UK as I’ve mentioned before a total of over a hundred and fifty thousand individuals use BSL at home in 1987 the British deaf Association of bd8 once their call for the legal recognition of British sign language in 2000 three following extensive lobbying BSL was officially recognized as a language in its own right by the Department of Work and Pensions the 2009 the UK government ratified the ignited Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities which states that governments must uphold rights by and I quote accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages and official interactions and recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages unquote despite formal recognition by the UK government at BSL as a language in its own right there has been no further progress towards a legal status for BSL and the devolved administration’s the situation is different in 2012 a consultation for a BSL Scotland act was initiated culminating in the passing of the Act in 2017 the Scottish Government published its first BSL national plan and 2016 is sign language framework consultation was launched in Northern Ireland despite

this there is still no pathway in place for legal recognition of BSL across the UK with with legal recognition of BSL comes the rights of deaf people and the benefits for both deaf people and why the society alike and they are far-reaching on Education deaf children are 42 percent less likely to achieve five-eight is a or more gia sees a great seer above than their hearing peers there is no reason that a Jeff deaf child should do any worse than a hearing child and health seventy percent of deaf people who haven’t been to a GP recently wanted to go but didn’t mainly because it was no interpreter deaf people have been told they might have high blood pressure are three times more likely than everyone else to still not have it under control deaf people are almost twice as likely to experience mental health issues which can be exacerbated by social exclusion a health economic study showed that eliminating pure diagnosis could save the NHS 30 million pounds annually and it’s worth noting at mr. May keevon families 90% of deaf children are born into hearing families the culture government is that the deaf community want the government to acknowledge the benefits of legal recognition of BSL and commit to establishing a uk-wide sane language framework consultation for a uk-wide sign language act the British deaf Association is asking for this consultation process to be led by an appropriate government department whose rent remit covers language and here is another major obstacle and question to the minister which government department and which Minister leads on BSL I’ve been writing for some time trying to find out I’ve even put down a parliamentary question to the Cabinet Office and the answer that solicited was quote all government departments have a responsibility to create inclusive communications this does not mean promoting BSL as an activity in itself but it does mean identifying and meeting the communication needs of the audiences we are targeting unquote now sorry Minister but that’s not well clear enough and demonstrates I think why BSL is stranded no department responsible no minister responsible no champion in government responsible no advocacy no progress finally on BSL and the case for a BSL GCSE even though British sign language is a recognised language within the UK it is not available as a GCSE that can be taught in schools a GCSE has already been piloted and is largely ready to go however the Department for Education is declining to give it the go-ahead there is a principle of fairness and justice here mr. mchabe BSL was an official language in the UK lose by used by tens of thousands of people not allowing it to be taught as a GCSE implies that has a law status and importance it could be even seen as discriminatory against their people and we don’t have enough deference episodes I think there are 89 thousand registered deaf interpreters from the briefings that we have all received which for dealing with the or hundreds of hundred thousand people a clearly is an adequate and the last of my three areas I wish to raise mr McCabe’s for the implementation of the action plan on hearing loss which when published was widely welcomed the Department of Health and NHS a English class published the action plan on hearing loss in March 2015 this cross government plan not only recognizes hearing loss as a major public health issue but highlights the major impacts of hearing loss and also commits the government to improving services for everyone living with hearing loss it also sets out the need to reduce variation and provision of services through the development of those guidelines and on adult onset hearing loss the report cites like five key objectives and the following areas early diagnosis good prevention integrated services increased independence and aging and good learning outcomes and as I say there was wide support for the plan as part of the implementation of the action plan and it shows England published its commissioning framework for hearing loss services in July 2016 and it’s essential of those properly disseminated by NHS England and that it is fully adopted by a clinical commissioning groups and to helpless an addition in September this year NHS published its what works gates action plan on hearing loss providing advice to commissioners and providers and supporting people with hearing loss and a variety of different settings and it sews England is also eminently set to publish guidance setting out the need for health and well-being forms to consider people with hearing loss when

commissioning services as well as its data tool so here the requests of government are very fairly straightforward mr. mchabe because the frameworks are in place the UK council and deafness are asking the government to what with NHS England commissioners and professional bodies for met medical professionals to raise the importance of early diagnosis for hearing loss provide an another producer an analysis of the case for a hearing screening potentially adding hearing screening to the NHS check NHS health check provided to people in England age 40 to 70 raise the importance of promoting the chemistry framework through NHS England the framework provides a clear alternative to the decommissioning of hearing aids and CCG should be aware of that document when designing and commissioning local services and conclusion at mr. McCabe I think it’s fair to say that on the three major issues I’ve raised the government has a mixed report count on access to what the government started very positively falter and no could be going backwards we need and the Secretary of State’s response to my question and the chamber about continuing to look at the evidence to be serious because the evidence is I hope I’ve ly though is very much there on be yourself the government never really got started and that’s not the minister’s government that’s the British government which covers both sides of the the chamber and were still stalled and there’s no sign of even ignition switch to start moving we need a champion and government on the action plan the government started well maintains progress and needs to move through the gears that that progress continues and secures the promised outcomes we all need more of the same because that was a very a very welcome start by the whole deaf and hearing loss community mr. mchabe finally this is an important debate I’m very grateful so many colleagues have managed to be here this afternoon to participate I’m grateful for the opportunity to open and I look forward to the contributions that follow thank you the question is that this house has considered deafness and hearing loss I call Ian Stuart McCabe it’s a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship and may I first start by congratulating the honourable gentleman from poplar and Limehouse for a success in securing this debate and also setting out the case with his customary courtesy and passion and you know he’s been a champion of of these issues for for many many years so I really pay him a heartfelt tribute for that before I move into the substance of my speech mr. McCabe I would like firstly just to comment on the fact that we are as mr. Fitzpatrick said having this as the first debate to be transmitted via BSL unfortunately this news of this came too late for one of my constituents Christopher Jones who did want to attend today but decided not to travel down from Milton Keynes because he didn’t think this facility would be available so perhaps miss mccabe you could report back to the speaker’s panel the provision of this interpretation should be considered to be more widely available not just for debates on this subject but for general debates we have in this place and so that we are as accessible to as possible to all our constituents as they’d be grateful if you could take that back to the panel the the particular issue I would like to focus on today is the introduction of a nationwide telecommunication relay service this was my constituent mr Jones came to see me about this a few weeks ago in most advanced economies there is a Nash nationwide telecommunications relay service I’m going to abbreviate it to TRS which provides functionally equivalent telephone transmission services to deaf and hard of hearing individuals TRS means telephone transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who’s deaf or hard of hearing to have the same telephone availability as someone who is of good hearing as telephone services and technologies evolve so does the scope and the achievement of this functional equivalence at one time tight tax communication was considered the functional equivalent of voice communication but in a 21st century captioning video and other technologies have changed what equivalency means and the the gap cesare now there between the

what’s available to hearing individuals and those with during deficiency is a growing gap and sadly in the UK where we once were the first to introduce such systems we know lagged well behind other countries such as the US Australia of Canada and New Zealand functional equivalent telephone services must be addressed including but not limited to the following the unrestricted availability of relay services provided on a 24-hour seven days a week basis emergency preparedness and response to ensure delivery of relay services in the event of disruptions to telecommunication services and international capacity telephone services to access the full array of existing telephone services offered by telecommunications companies importantly competition innovation and choice so that users can access a wide range of services what works for some people in certain circumstances might be different to what others need there are different facilities available and it’s important that each user can choose the system that works best for them at any one time and that might mean for one individual having a different things at different times my constituent says he would use one means to communicate with his family and a different one to do business conversations there’s many other issues as well that need to be considered and while they might seem like lofty goals they are currently being delivered in those countries I’ve mentioned for example Australia provides the following relay services text phone to voice and voice to text phone text will and voice carry over text from hearing carry over speech to speech vite video relay services internet relay mobile text relay mobile SMS relay caption telephone on the phone and web and caption telephone to Braille display in Australia the the system as a national service has operated since 1995 and is available to every Australian at no additional cost to consumers on 24 hours a day seven days a week basis and there’s been a number of studies since this introduction to look at the impact that it has had and it is some of the findings are you might think obvious but it is important to to mention them the access to these enhance relay services is positively associated with reductions in feelings of frustration with telephone use it’s for individuals it gives them a much higher quality of life it’s yes access to work as the Honorable gentleman mentioned but it also has proven to reduce the wider health consequences that can arise from isolation feelings of mental health issues and the cost saving is likely to exceed the cost of introduction of this service the Honorable James my think I heard him mention a figure of 30 million pounds annually that could be saved from the Health and Social Care budgets if many of these feelings of social exclusion were dealt with ironically my constituent was involved in setting up designing and setting up such a system many years ago it had to close down in 2008 he couldn’t make it work and part of the problem was that there was a bureaucratic muddle and delay because this is often a cross-party cost part across departmental issue we have the minister from depart for healthier but it’s as much DCMS matter and DWP and the potential benefits from the system our constituent introduced could not be realized because was but passing and delays and there wasn’t a joined-up approach to it so my call today is for the minister to take away the points I’ve raised and discuss it with these colleagues in DWP in DCMS to really drive forward the introduction of such a nationwide service in this country it is embarrassing that we were one of the first to introduce it but now we’ve fallen back over a number of decades and other countries are now way ahead of what we are doing and I urge them to and these colleagues to to look at the evidence particularly from Australia to

see what can be done on a very cost-effective basis it’s not just about money it is about quality of life – we owe it to all our constituents to give them as much access to the world of work the world of public services as anyone else and I think this is a fairly straightforward way that we could do this and I do urge I must say to look at the evidence from other countries and to discuss it with these colleagues thank you I’ll make Pheidon I want to begin by echoing the tributes to my honourable friend a member for poplar and Limehouse for securing this to be now as we’ve already heard so far in the debate there are a number of different dimensions and aspects to deafness but I want to focus on one particular issue and that is the criteria for receiving cochlear implants under the NHS my argument today is simple that these criteria should be reviewed it should be made easier to get an implant to do so we transform the lives of those who need this technology it would improve the lives of their families and loved ones and it would be a prudent investment because it would obviate the need for more expenditure further down the line as a consequence of people not receiving the implants that they desperately need now let me tell you the story of my constituent lamina Lloyd and last year Lamanna had a flourishing career as the manager of a local Citizens Advice Bureau however lamina has many years disease which has resulted in progressive hearing loss so much so that last year she had to give up work she has two children who themselves have additional needs she can no longer hear her children who have to act as her ears she describes her family life as having gone from being an outdoor family to one that now rarely leaves the house lamina is an intelligent capable person but for her hearing loss has meant the end of her career it has diminished the quality of her family life and has resulted in increasing isolation to try to alleviate her condition lamina wears the most powerful hearing aids available turned up to maximum volume but they make little difference they give her frequent ear infections and headaches caused by feedback and squealing noises from the hearing aids she can no longer hear music or follow conversations and yet has been in a battle and that’s the only word for in a battle for the last two years to try to get a cochlear implant she falls just short five decibels sure that is no more than a whisper of the 90 decibel hearing loss threshold for consideration for an implant this threshold is one of the strictest in the Western world it means it is estimated that only 5% of those who could benefit from this technology get access to it here in the United Kingdom llamada describes her condition as being too deaf to hear yet not deaf enough to get help that could make a huge difference to her life her healing has deteriorated even further in recent months and she now has an appointment had a Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in two weeks time to be assessed but she and many others in her position have serious reservations about how these assessments are made the bkb test used uses short sentences in lab conditions it does not replicate normal conversation or real-world conditions and lamina and many others feel it is not a tool fit for the purpose of properly measuring hearing ability and hearing loss and even if lamina is approved for an implant the question has to be asked why is it taken so long and why do we put people and their families through such pain before giving them the help that could make a life-changing difference a my honourable friend a member for poplar and Limehouse raised these issues in an adjournment to be earlier this year and briefly at the beginning of his speech today and he was told earlier this year that nice was launching a consultation on the guidelines used for this this has not happened these guidelines have been in place since 2009 but technology and costs have moved on a great deal since then and can

i therefore ask the minister a few questions to either respond to in answers today or if that’s not possible I’d be very happy for him to consult with colleagues and write to me and the other members participating after the debate but a more considered response first why has the nice consultation not been launched when it was promised that it would be launched in the summer of this year and when will it be launched secondly does he agree with me that laminas case and the many similar cases around the country show that there is an overwhelming case for revising these criteria thirdly whatever hearing loss threshold is picked does he agree that the testing of hearing loss needs to be done in real-world conditions that approximate with how people actually live their lives conduct conversations and so on and fourthly and perhaps most fundamentally why does it take so long for people to get an implant why is this such a battle the NHS is there for those who need it is it should not be an organization that people have to battle with to get the treatment that they need if my constituent had been helped earlier she might still be in a job she wouldn’t need to rely on the state for financial support and our family would not have had to go through the huge difficulties that they’ve all been through together in the last couple of years it is time for a step change in the urgency with which this issue of cochlear implants is treated the guidelines must be revised the nice organization needs to move on this and it needs to do so soon so that the suffering of my constituent lamina Lloyd and the many people around the country who are in a similar position can be alleviated thank you I asked my staff to monitor the transmission of the the signage the signage hasn’t been broadcast the cameras don’t meet them Westminster Hall debates do not have subtitles unlike that the main chamber and obviously I would very much appreciate if you would take this back to this because panel and and have a discussion but this in due course I understand the reports actually heartening to Diaz is being filmed and when it is rebroadcast it will actually show in a box as you would normally see another TV later this is obviously an early stage I will be reporting back when how this whole debate goes at any points that members raise but I understand the arrangements for today is that when its rebroadcast at Wilshire I’m grateful mr. McKenna Kelly told us thank you mr. McCabe and it’s a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship this afternoon I want to start by congratulating the Honourable member for popular in Limehouse for securing this really important debate and it’s a real pleasure for me to be able to speak in it I also wanted to add that I think it’s an a fantastic move that today we have cite this debate being signed and I would very much advocate that more debates held in the chamber should be that way it should be part of the norm of the House of Commons it shouldn’t be exception to the rule I I was very keen speaking this debate about deafness and hearing loss as it has had a major effect on my family so today rather than focusing on some of the many issues that that deaf people in this country are affected by I wanted to just maybe give you a real-life example of how deafness has affected my life so my mum at the age of 40 25 years ago lost her hearing overnight due to a virus and when I say overnight it was literally overnight she woke up one morning and she couldn’t hear anymore she hadn’t been ill she had never had any hearing problems but she went from being hearing person one day to the next day having nothing my father took my mum to the hospital and at that time we had a really good ear nose and throat hospital in Maidstone and it was about a week later so it’s about week after she had lost her hearing that she was taken there and it was confirmed that she has no hearing they put her on steroids they told her it was due to a virus and that the hairs in her ears had died and that it was probably very unlikely she would ever get her hearing back this was absolutely devastating for my mother and for all of us my sister must my sister myself and my dad it

changed her life and our life fundamentally we couldn’t communicate with her everything had to be written down my mum can’t sign my mum couldn’t lip read so she was flung into isolation and into to be honest with us state of depression it was a really really tough time with Tunes to teenage girls at that particular time who were very much into their singing and all of a sudden my mum to admit that she would never be able to hear her daughter’s sing again so because of the abruptness of her hearing loss it was really difficult to mitigate some of the emotional damage though obviously she had impacted upon her she was looked after by the NHS you know the NHS did try to help her they gave her lip-reading classes and they offered her support with the counsellor they even offered there have been another lady in the country who had lost her hearing overnight like my mother and they put her in contact with her but of course my mum was probably mourning the loss of something that she was never going to get back but one thing that was quite quite important and I’m moving on to and to sort of back up what the Honourable member for wool without all the Hamptons South East has has brought up this afternoon is that she was never told that she was a candidate to have a cochlear implant deafness is the invisible disability my mum didn’t look like she had a disability her voice sounded like it always did as she had had been a hearing person 40 years but I saw an experienced firsthand the major barriers that people who are deaf have to experience I recognise that there are strong differences between individuals who have been born deaf or have got gradual hear hearing loss or had hearing loss as a small child may be due to meningitis or some other illness but the biggest thing was my mum didn’t have any deaf friends and we didn’t actually even know any deaf people but what was very acute was the opportunities for her who were severely limited my mum had been looked after my sister and I at home and she was looking forward to going back to work because we’re in our teens and and at that point she all of a sudden found she wasn’t able to work because she couldn’t really get the confidence or when she was very difficult to understand anyone at that particular time so her the opportunities open to her were extremely extremely extremely limited but eventually after eight years my mum did decide that she wanted to do something about a hearing loss and went to the doctors and they talked her about whether she could be a possible candidate for a cochlear implant and it was decided that actually at the time she would have been able to have access to one immediately because of the severity of her hearing loss it then took another two years for her to get to a situation where she had a cochlear implant because obviously the funding at that time 25 years ago because obviously they weren’t so frequent as they are now was quite a challenge anyway she had the cochlear implant after ten years of suffering and being isolated suffering with depression not being able to go back into work and sadly for her the cochlear implant well after a year of traveling to st Thomas’s hospital with the fabulous technicians led by Terri Nunn that some Thomas’s decided that it couldn’t actually worked so she had to go back for a further cochlear implant and but at this time and and many many people won’t understand is with a cochlear implant it doesn’t get your hearing back you don’t hear like you did when you were a hearing person or or but it gives you some quality of life and technology has changed 25 years on cochlear implants aren’t just available in London they’re available all over the country but what we do know and what was very clear is that the sooner you have a cochlear implant after the loss of your hearing the greater the impact the cochlear implant will have and and in how it works and how you’re able to hear now I I have been extremely

worried about reading about some of the some of the reports that have been mentioned that some CCGs now are looking at maybe to stop hearing aids one of the only things that kept my mother going through those ten years was that she was using hearing aids but it didn’t help her hearing when it did was accentuate the background noises and actually cut out some of her tinnitus some of the time but hearing aids if she wasn’t able to have that access to that service in between that time before having a cochlear implant it would have been even worse so my worry is that if we are looking in my view hearing aids a very very cheap way of being able to have an impact on people who are suffering from gradual gradual hearing loss and I find it quite frightening that CCGs would even be looking at stopping that support I think it’s a dangerous road to go down and as it’s already been mentioned by the members in spoken Hearing Loss sends you into isolation even if it’s mild hearing loss you know you can be in situations where you just will not put yourself in those situations because of the fear of not understanding and not being able to hear what’s going on I used to go into the supermarket with my mother and people would ask her would she like a carry a bag and because she didn’t hear them people would just think she was rude or sort of actually made some rude comment to her because they thought she was just being rude that she actually couldn’t hear them and so hearing aids are massively important and can be an important way of just keeping people out of that isolation and also that contact with the Health Service so that their hearing loss can be monitored because actually what a lot of people don’t talk about is that people who do suffer from hearing loss and deafness are very embarrassed by their disability as well if um if they were if their disability was physically physically visible everybody would be talking about that kind of disability you would be hearing people banging the drums and asking for support from government and all different organizations for that but deaf people work and get on with their lives and very rarely moan very much I have to say they put up with quite a lot but because they don’t have that visible because they don’t have that visible characteristics and it’s very difficult sometimes for us or hearing people to really truly understand the isolation depression and the mental health sometimes that the that these people are subjected to but I spoke it today very much from an emotional point of view about a real-life situation that has affected me but in conclusion I hope that what I have said has Illustrated that deafness can take many different forms and it is not just through old age or just from birth and I do believe for too long deaf people have been disadvantaged isolated and I do really want to join with the Honourable member from Poplar and lime house and offer my support for the cause of the UK Council for deafness because it is it’s really good to have this debate and I think all the recommendations in there are proper recommendations well-thought-out meaningful and realistic asks and I hope that this debate and if anyone who is deaf listening or watching it hopefully next week will see that here in Parliament it’s really good to have these debates we do care about deafness in this country and the people that suffer from that and I very much am pleased to have being able to speak today thank you Steven Lloyd chairmanship and like the others who have spoken out also like to commend my the Honourable member for popera and Limehouse getting this debate I I was the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group deafness I was rudely interrupted in 2015 nothing else happened but it is a pleasure to be back at the servant vice-chair to his excellent servant chip I’d also like to commend the previous speakers both each of whom spoken importantly on the issue of cochlear I remember 20 20 30 years ago when they first began to really take off and the difference now compared to what it was then is absolutely huge and that overlaps what my other colleague from across the the chamber talked about with her mother and thank you for that really quite moving speech your mob will be proud of you I’m absolutely sure of that I can relate to a lot of the things that your mum went through I’ve been deaf

about 50 years of my life but cochlear have made a huge difference and their improvement is absolutely massive so the Minister I knows from the Department of Health and an old colleague from coalition days could see him do please exploring how cochlear implants can be evermore available because they do much more now and they do it much earlier and they are a game-changer when they first came out a long long time ago for many years they they were you know they no really didn’t make that much of difference there was vigorous opposition from a lot of the BSL community which I understand why that has changed a great deal APs and cochlear implants actually I think in many ways really are the future around transforming deafness I never really believed it for many in the old days but now I do because of their advances I’d like to just cover a few areas a couple from the the you Cod angle and then a couple specifically because we have a Health Ministry chair first off a BSL from you core perspective it’s it’s a different language a lot of people I mean I’m hard of hearing and I have been in measles since I was six and sometimes people might say to me Stephen you remember the deaf community and I say no I remember hearing community I just don’t hear very well and that’s the important point it’s completely different the deaf community is a community BSL is a three different communities with cultural norms a different language BSL Eve’s isn’t even a direct translation of my speech it’s different and and that’s an important point because people sometimes didn’t understand that they would say to me why don’t you learn and be ourselves I say because I’m a member of that hearing community I just don’t hear very well and it’s different language so I’m I’m very supportive of the BSL profoundly deaf people trying to get BSL as a recognised language as has happened I believe in Scotland and Hollywood and I remember her just for 2015 having meetings with a number of people damn from Scotland and we were watching it with great intent and one because I know that once it happens in one legislative house then it’s very hard for other legislative houses not to follow so good luck with it up in Scotland because I think that’s a game changer and I think eventually it will happen in Westminster and when it does it’s not just label when a nation says that a language is a statutory language the important thing about that is it means it’s accessible it means public bodies have to provide information in that language and that will make a huge difference for a lot of Kavala deaf people and I’ll tell you why and I’ll give you one very good example I mean I’ve been involved for many many years in politics around deafness as a trustee of this and patron of that what have you and I know or knew a lot of people who are profoundly deaf and and working in that area including from the British deaf Association I just came from a statement this morning when the Secretary of State’s the DWP in his statement mentioned around about 50 percent of disabled people are out of work but I can tell you what I had of a lot higher than that if you have a family day I haven’t got the figures because no one really finds them because the DWP you strike me crazy when I say before wouldn’t slice the different disabilities up they’d just say problems with deafness problem is with the official impairment which completely denies the separateness of deafness I would say off the bat that profoundly deaf people you’re looking at an unemployment rate of around 70 percent and that is ridiculous that is just ridiculous how can you possibly take out whatever it is a hundred thousand people if not more of that out working age and have the barriers of such that 70 percent sound unemployed it’s oblivion outrage it really is and and now I’m back it at the house tremendous wonderful for the Vivi’s below thank you for the release form I’m very determined to lobby hard on BSL becoming and accepted language I’m also very keen to join my colleague from popular limehouse on lobbying around access to work it is actually a great thing that government have done I think it’s your majors originally to be honest access to work is a good thing it’s made a huge difference a lot of people and so I’m a big big supporter the challenge with it in many ways it’s made a great difference for people who are either work and acquire a disability this were illness or or a catastrophic incident or what have you and it’s been fantastic in helping people stand where what I would like to see is access to work to be even more improved particularly for the SME sector so that

they understand that they can employ people with disabilities because access to work provides a lot of the money that will give an induction loop will put a ramp in do whatever is is often necessary to help but to say to help an employer take on unstable person and that’s really important because corporates kind of get it cuz they’re big and they’re huge and they have massive HR departments and bobs of money and so they tried to do their best it’s much harder if you’re an SME it’s hard if you’re employing three people you know and I’m the director a bit the plumber or whatever and I work seven days a week and someone comes to see me they got a disability it’s just so much easier folks to say no no sorry find an excuse or not an employer well in fact access to work will often provide that money that will allow that SME to take on that sable person I’ll let the house into a vast secret and I say this with authority because I used to be a consult in this area years you employ disabled people you get lower churn I’ve seen that I’ve seen that in call centers I’ve seen that in businesses I’ve seen it in numerous different areas and I used to be very involved with the SAF FSB and I’m sure I will be again I’m back lower turn is really important when you’re a lot of your money and a lot of your spend is going on employment and employing people at a later date I’ll explain why get low return but you do serve access to work is something that yes thank you very much for my honorable friend for giving way will you agree with me that one of the issues are you talking about SMEs and and some of the challenges actually for them in employing people with such impairment that it is also an issue where so many people who do suffer with deafness or hearing a failing hearing to actually progress within an organization because of the cap and that the it actually sort of is almost it self-enforcing in terms of people then being pressed into part-time working the intervention thanks to that it’s very good example I’ve got no hearing on my left like wouldn’t he thank you that Jim knows to punch me book you’re actually right there are elements around access to work has its expanded and it costs a lot more money over the years government and and I’m not joking stones I know how challenging it is within the budget envelope have introduced more and more caps what I would like to see the DWP and Minister can go back and tell his colleagues is rather than focusing on the different caps around all the different ways you can cap access to work focus on some better and more creative ways we can use the money because I am convinced from years of experience colleagues have to take my take my word for that we’re in the majority of times were disabled people get into a job where properly managed you know that Trevin for support they will stay there for years and that is so much that costs so much less money than actually having the constantly employed so thank you the intervention I’ll just move on to two key areas that are specific to my to the honorable ministers whatever’s brief health right one of the things that I fought very hard for last time so I get it how’s your health buzz to get whenever someone hit pension age that they would automatically be invited for a hearing aid screening so it would be 65 66 whatever I think under the coalition I think retirement age 152 I think of 66 and now the reason that’s significant is something like fifty or so percent people heading up to sixty percent as you get older over the age of 60 and 65 begin to get aged onset hearing loss mine is an aged onset though I’m old enough now it’s measles as I said Jim’s far too young who can’t possibly be hey job set but the thing is with hearing loss is that the vast majority of people ignore it for 15 years because the hearing loss is not a sexy disability my colleague from Kent flagged that and it’s so true it’s not a sexy disability and you start losing your hearing you don’t admit to it your husband’s a wife go potty their volumes turned out massively on the the television and eventually your kids drag you to the audiology Department if it’s still open cover that the audiology Department in your mid-70s and the problem is that and there’s significant data to prove this which I’ll be happy to share with the minister another time is the longer you take to get a hearing aid the less chance of it working because the difference between a 75 year old and the

65 year old in acuity terms is enormous and hearing loss is not like glasses I can’t see properly I put glasses on I have 20/20 vision hearing aids they do not replace lost sound all they do is amplify your residual hearing try to explain that colleagues very quickly imagine a radio batteries running down you turn the volume up you get a lot more sound but it’s very discordant that’s what hearing aids do and anyway I was pressing very hard for the NHS after the Department fell through out a pilot just for all pensioners when they get to parental age to receive an invite to audiology or wherever to be a pharmacy for that matter have a hearing test my rationale behind that which was supported by pretty much every group including nice that you can possibly imagine was that you’re getting early you’re forced to accept you’re losing your hearing you get a hearing aid tip so facto it’s much easier to get used to my view shared by many others would be a huge advantage not least on even reducing the levels of dementia because we’ve discovered dimension select link to social isolation if you’re old and you’re deaf and you’re hard of hearing you isolate the the Department of Health at the time agreed in principle that they would run a pilot took me a long time didn’t want to do it because they know I’m right he’s going to cost a lot more money all these extra hearing aids and they agreed to run a pilot and then there is a tragedy colleagues I lost direction and as soon as I laughed boom you know I wasn’t there to nag like hell and it sort of disappeared off the back burner however I’m delighted to see my old colleague and people Winchester is now the minister so I’m sure that I’ve put it on the table he will move heaven and earth to rusticate that and do a pilot it will make a huge difference to hundreds of thousands of people and I’m deadly serious so I would encourage that on audiology it’s easy to cut hearing aids because it’s basically a whole people they’re not going to be organized I’m not going to complain like hell they’re isolated anyway because I’ve already said they’re in their mid 70s by the time they go to audiology department so I’m really pretty angry that a lot of CCGs are getting away with beginning to trim audiology services because there aren’t enough people fighting their corner well I would urge again the Minister I know that CCGs are independent but he and I also know that there are protocols and I would would ask that the minister and his response makes a commitment that CCGs will be told just how important audiology is just how important hearing aids are and they must not use it the the austerity challenges they face they must not use it to cut all the obligee and on that note I’d like again to thank the Honourable member for Popper in Limehouse for securing this debate thank you is that all those Mr McCabe it’s a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship and I congratulate my honourable friend the member for popular and Limehouse for securing this debate and indeed some colleagues who have spoken very movingly about their own personal experiences I welcome it’s great to see him honorable friend a member from Winchester in his place as the responding Minister and I’m sure he would do this a Blee but I think it’s an indication of a sort of challenge the hard-of-hearing the deaf community face in that certainly during the course of this debate I’ve heard five different departments who have got a particular issue that needs to be to be addressed that’s the Department of Health Department for Education Bay’s Department of Communities media and sport and also the DWP and so I think that does perhaps show there was a danger working in departmental silos that some of the challenges that we’re hearing about today are not getting properly addressed my own of a friend the member for popular and Limehouse is very much a champion for the for the deaf and hard of hearing community and I’m going to briefly highlight the work of another such champion and dillings from Lowestoft who is working with passion determination to secure the best possible education for her son Daniel and in doing so is campaigning for other parents of deaf children in North Suffolk Daniel started at Bunge High School in September he is doing well and there is a good package of support in place for him but I’ll had to fight very hard to get that and she continues to campaign for a hearing-impaired unit in North Suffolk it’s clear that not just in Suffolk but

across the country deaf children are not getting the right supports right from the start and thus they’re not always able to realize their full potential at school this can then put them at a considerable disadvantage for the rest of their lives what we need to do is to break down these barriers and put in place a properly funded national framework within which local educational authorities like Suffolk County Council can provide a good education and support service locally and if they don’t do so they can then be held to account mr McCabe the national deaf children society who do great work campaigning for deaf children to have the same opportunities as everyone else have highlighted for issues on which government action is needed to break down the barriers that deaf children face firstly it’s the appropriate there’s a need for NHS England to improve the quality of children’s hearing services the National deaf children Society have highlighted in their listen up campaign that across the country many such services have significant shortcomings and are failing to meet the necessary standards in audiology the Quality Assurance process that was previously in place has ended and it’s not been replaced by any other mandatory process the nd the nd CS have a three point action plan to address this particular problem firstly NHS England must ensure that children’s audiology services that those services they directly commissioned such as to the under-fives they should ensure they comply with the improving quality and physiological services that’s Aiki IP if it’s accreditation program secondly it is vitally important this program is more transparent so that families know whether their services are good quality all we’re or if they need to be improved and thirdly it is necessary for the accreditation process to be compulsory so that all paediatric audiology services are moving its wards running of good quality operation my second point is relates to access to hearing radio aids technology for deaf children radio aids have a vitally important role to play in helping deaf children hear speech they enable people neighbor children to better understand their teacher they also have a big impact in improving parent-child communication despite these obvious benefits most local authorities do not currently make radio aides available for use by families in the home the nd CS are calling on local authorities and the Department of Education to ensure that every child who could benefit from a radio aid is given access to one at the earliest possible opportunity to do this the Department of Education should encourage local authorities to make use of their special provision capital fund to provide radio aids where they are needed the third point relates to a British sign language sign language and the need for GCSE in British sign language mr. mchabe a campaign which the government really must listen to is the right to sign campaign for British sign language to be available as a GCSE that can be taught in schools as Angeline’s has points out it is the first language of deaf children it is discriminatory that deaf children do not have the opportunity to achieve what is probably the widest recognised qualification and it is given a lower status than other languages there were other accredited British sign language there are the other accredited qualifications in British sign language but these are not widely available to children in schools and are less likely to be recognized by employers Daniel Gillings achieved his BSL level one three years ago but it was not funded and tutored him and paid for all the assessments herself there is a compelling case for a GCSE in BSL in terms of equality denial of choice for deaf children and places unnecessary barrier to further and higher education and there after entering the workplace this barrier must be removed a GCSE has already been piloted and is largely ready to go the Department of Education must make an exception to their blanket policy of not allowing any new GCSEs to be developed the fourth point and final point I have relates to the special educational needs

and disabilities framework the Children and Families Act of 2014 made significant changes to the special educational needs and disabilities that’s the send framework one of the key changes was to replace Sen statements with education health and care plans EHC plans the deadline for implementing these changes is April of next year and there is a concern that many schools and local educational authorities are struggling to meet to implement these changes in time in Suffolk Ofsted and the CQC identified weaknesses in the County Council’s practices in meeting this requirement of the Act to ensure that authorities like suffer’d are able to meet their obligations they must be provided with sufficient funding whilst the high-needs block which funds Sen support has been protected in cash firms terms it has not been adjusted to reflect a variety of additional challenges that’s the rising number of children and young people requiring additional support the greater local authority responsibility for young children with send aged between 16 and 25 and also in early years and also a trend towards more children being placed in special schools mr. mchabe more money needs to be made available and Ofsted need need to review how it can strengthen the accountability framework around Sen and B and how it inspects schools in conclusion Angeline’s has gone that extra mile and worked tirelessly to ensure that Daniel gets the opportunity to have the best possible start in life to have the best possible education so that he can realize his full potential there are many barriers that have been placed in in in her way in pursuit of this goal I would suggest that it is our duty it is the duty of government and it is the duty of local authorities to remove these barriers as soon as possible Carrie McCarthy pleasure to see you in the chair as always and I thank my honourable friend the member for popular Limehouse for securing this important debate I think the contributions we’ve had so far have been fantastic there are two issues in particular that affect deaf and hard of hearing people that I wish to raise today the first is accreditation of children’s hearing services and the second is the cap on the access to work scheme grants which have already been spoken about there are over 50,000 deaf children across the UK and an estimated 790 for deaf children in the Bristol area alone for these children high quality audiology services to carry out tests fitter maintain hearing aids and provide rehabilitative support a vital despite this the government has stopped mandatory inspections of services instead replacing them with the improving quality in physiological services IQ IPS accreditation program and since this voluntary program started in 2012 only 15% of children’s audiology services have achieved IQ IPS accreditation so that means that 85% cannot guarantee that their services of good quality and I would say this lack of transparency is unacceptable it’s leaving far too many families in the dark about the quality of their child’s audiology service and obviously sort of in immense important to parents that their children do get access to good services some have stepped up to the starting by signing up to the scheme such as some Michaels hospital in Bristol which serves my constituents and a fewer nearing the finish line and accreditation but too many are not taking part at all the National jet deaf children Society through its listen up campaign is calling on the government and NHS England to make assessments of children’s audiology services mandatory and for information from these assessments to be publicly available and I support this campaign I implore the government and NHS England to implement changes which will help ensure that deaf children will get the quality of service they deserve it could make so much difference to their future life chances the second issue as I said is about the cap on access to work grants the access to work scheme as we’ve already heard from the Honorable member for popular and Limehouse enables many disabled people to overcome work-related obstacles through practical advice support and grants towards extra employment costs that cannot be met by employers as reasonable in justments a review some time ago but 2004 government review suggested that for every 1 pound of money spent on access to work 1 pam 48 was generated for the treasury I’m deeply concerned about the effect that the cap on access to work grants for new claimants imposed by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2015 will have on

the career prospects of deaf and hard of hearing employees for existing claimants this cap is due to come into force in April next year the cap is one and a half times the national average salary currently 42,000 100 pounds per year sorry that’s that’s what the cap is set out and why this may be enough support for some people for others it is not take for instance someone who contacted me about today’s debate who is deaf or constituent of mine who uses British sign language and works as a disability advisor an educational establishment access to work helps them participate fully and equally at work by paying the costs of communication support with namely British sign language interpreters and this support is inevitably expensive you’re paying people’s wages which is why it’s unlikely to be classed as a reasonable adjustment for his employer at the moment he’s able to access this four of these interpreters throughout his working week the cap means that at most he would be able to book interpreters for three days a week leaving him with two days when he wouldn’t be able to communicate with his colleagues and clients meaning he would be unable to do his job effectively access to work mr. mchabe revolutionized the career opportunities that threaten people shattering the glass ceiling that had previously limited them to manual jobs it has largely been due to access to work that deaf people have progressed as far as their talent allows there are now deaf CEOs deaf intermediaries working at the Ministry of Justice deaf theatre directors deaf social workers yet research conducted earlier this year by deaf atw found that the cap on access to work grants is already having a detrimental effect on the deaf community and we’ve heard the figures from my honourable friend on behalf of my constituent and all those in the deaf community have benefited will stand to benefit from this scheme I do implore the Minister today to listen to what is being said and to remove or raise the access to work cap and once again lift the ceiling on the career aspirations of those who are deaf or hard of hearing fitting your chairmanship this evening this afternoon it’s gonna be this evening soon and it’s a pleasure the tools will be on the debate and secured by my very good friend and then my foot popular and lion house we’ve been on many campaigns together over the years not least in our previous the careers at the outset mr. McCabe I need to declare an interest I am the honorary patron of the HOF jahir hearing advisory service and have been for over ten years they’re a fantastic charity that do work not only in Harvard sure but across many different counties and it’s very difficult to disagree with hardly anything that we’ve heard in the chamber and it’s a really positive debate and I think the people that seen this debate and others will realize that this house can work together for not just people of hard of hearing but people apart of him and other issues one of the things we’ve not discussed in this race is very often people that are hollering or death have other ailments and sometimes that is difficult for them as they’re being hard of hearing mr. Carey the other thing that ministers usually and I can assure you from experience don’t like is for a former minister to be standing up in the debate to talk about something that they might know something about so I was for a short time the disability Minister I’m responsible for access to work so let me if I can be positive about it and also say this breaks some of the taboos writers I said so as we’ve heard is one of the great schemes for people across this great nation of ours that I’ve been left behind ignored told that they couldn’t work employees telling that they couldn’t employ them it wasn’t safe to employ them and as we’ve heard that was complete and utter rubbish and I don’t have to believe the honourable gentleman to take his word for it because the evidence is there within the department working pensions they’re people that have disabilities work harder are more likely to turn up for work they’re more dedicated and more committed than any other of their employees that’s the fact we know that and when I went around the country doing the disability confident trying to encourage employers to take on people with all types of disabilities well that was pretty easy as we’ve heard with the bigger companies and are some fantastic large companies around particularly the wrong male can I say who get biffed around a little bit at some times in this house but their commitment to people that are there arriving with disabilities or then going disabilities while they’re in employ there is simply fantastic but it is really hard were the SMEs and there’s this myth about that you know is that this risk you know health and safety prevents me when I was the health and safety minister as well so I was happy to go around and dismiss that but we have to work really hard with the SMEs and access to work fantastically belted thousands and thousands of people get into working at that confidence to stay and the cat wasn’t brought in just before I became

the minister and one of the first things I said is where is the evidence base where is the evidence base that the department has that we need to do this and whether the cap will work so there is evidence in the department I say this on the record they know exactly and it’s continually reviewed one one of the things that you’re taught as a minister when you stand at this practice proxy’s you always the government continues to keep under review this that or whatever and I can assure you that Department keeps under the review and it’s really showing that you know my friend here for my boss by PBS is the responsible is when I say this to the DWP that we’ll be seeing the record for this they know where it’s going to work they are keeping it under review and they need to be open and honest as to how we how it’s working and if it’s not working then it needs to be adjusted because from me as a former minister I’m not going to have all that great work lost all those pieces were asked people’s aspirations and commitment to work being lost because of us cap which actually in real terms doesn’t save a huge amount of the money I give way it makes the same points as I think we’ve all made it as a great scheme it does work and as I understand that the logic is there’s only so much money in the pot and obviously that’s always the case for government and therefore the cap is to try and spread that which is available as widely as possible but those people who do have fantastic talent who could be advocates and champion for the deaf community by becoming chief executives and leaders of their professions etc to have that glass ceiling reinforced because they can only get from today 43,000 pencil it is not criticism well it is a criticism in some respects but it’s a it’s a criticism to say we need to make sure that the evidence is being looked at regularly and and you know government’s need to be kicked and beaten up at times when I get things wrong and they need to be praised when they got things right and I was very proud that conservative government brought this in I think was massively massively important and from and if that evidence doesn’t show that this is going to work and there always be examples of you know the you know there was an abuse within the system I think on it but that must have been an excuse so if I can’t launch look and say no this is the only way this can work is with a camp so I say to the minister who as I say when were looked twice as when he went came in and realized what most this debate about which is not actually his portfolio but actually DW people failure in this particular area more than happy to go across to my old apartment and sit with my old officials and explain to them exactly where the evidence must be within their in their cupboards can I also miss booke oh just touch on to other areas briefly and then one area which hasn’t been touched on at all in my closing remarks I do not understand in the 21st century which is a language which is recognized is not recognized in this house and across the country I really don’t understand why all these years after I stood in the chamber in 2005 did a point of order complaining that there was like a hearing loop available for my constituents when they were in the house and then even when it was installed it didn’t work very properly this is the first time in a debate that we’ve had signing for our constituents I think this is something and there are all these people going on the back there’ll be it must cost more money the cost is minimal compared to the benefit that would happen to our constituents being part of the democratic process which is what we talk I’d like to thank normal Freddy for kicking off out the induction route years ago because I can tell you I couldn’t function as an MP in the chamber without the induction loop thank you things I do for everybody but it was it was genuinely embarrassing I remember vividly and I won’t say anything about on remember like this said something from a senator position which was were and I say to the speaker they Michael Martin my constituents have come to see this World Heritage Site and see their Parliament or work and I took them on a tour around and frankly they didn’t get hardly any benefit apart from visual because they could understand or hear a word I would say well there was a comment from a secretary position that’s well they didn’t miss very much I think where but the point that I was trying to get across is that you know the mother of Parliament’s and as we’ve heard from my colleagues earlier on you know we’re way behind the loop again and I’m sorry to use terrible pun but we are really behind it and so I hope this is a lurch forward where we can have and I know sort of Clark’s a bit coming in and the speaker is going to get reported to in over there right it’s absolutely useless unless someone actually does something and then move on and they should be live transmitted and I know this is the trial you know but this should be actually one secondly and very short and very briefly they should be a GCSE I just find it absolutely frankly if you look at the

different courses are the different things that our young people do within schools and colleges and for them to be excluded in this way I mean there must be something if they don’t want to extend it anymore they don’t want any more GCSEs well we can drop one of the ones which doesn’t actually get used anywhere near as much as what this would get used and to make people and the one thing that’s been said to me in my own constituency if people that are not deaf and hard of him wants if you had a communication so they want to do these courses as well they want to have a GCSE because they can chat away over their mates in that sort of way so I think that’s a simple thing I can’t see where there’s huge costing implications in doing that and so that should be moved on as this we’ve heard this often can I just touch at the end miss McKay on people of those hearing has been impaired by industrial injuries stop you mentioned at all Jim there may not be any because people don’t believe that they should do it I just think it’s one of those one of those issues but because it’s not people can’t see that you’ve got an industrial injury it’s not like so many industrial injuries that I’ve seen when my former job as a fireman like the my own humble friend of Israel but these are something really very wrong about how we measure industrial injuries and in particular hearing impairment investments we’ve already heard so many people who have hearing impairment don’t admit it to themselves don’t admit it to their wives or their loved ones even though the property lights don’t want somewhere where there’s an issue going on but certainly don’t talk about it to their employer all their previous employers and I can talk about this in the way because my eardrum is perforated I didn’t know about that until I started to miss the conversations that I thought I should be picking up and you continue asking you just don’t think there’s something wrong but when I went to the mo D as the minister I have a medical before I was allowed to go away into operational fields and it was plainly obvious that my eye had a perforated eardrum which was not picked up when I left the Armed Forces but almost certainly was while I was in the Armed Forces from life firing it if you especially astronomy that’s what it will be now that that’s not important so much to me but it is massively important there is also a level playing field out there for the disabled disabled levels or when industrial injuries are common there was a completely different level for instance for hearing damage in the Armed Forces than it is in what I call civvy Street that can’t be right we must encourage people to come forward not just so much that they get the compensation as we’ve heard earlier on if we can pick this up earlier it saves the state and it saves everybody a lot of money but also makes life much better for that person who then starts to accept the disability that they have and they can continue live a happy life if I give way forgive me when I had my hearing test and identified my audiological loss and the print out as as he written all they can tell whether it’s JIT whether it’s just so to a judge and I’d say well it’s industrial i main was down to at least partly industrial and i was told by my clinicians your hearing losses above the threshold for applying for industrial injury a benefit compensation I never did know because I had a good job here I didn’t have to him and it was a matter of the money and it’s always I’ve always felt a bit difficult said why should I go down as a statistic because I’m sure as he’s describing there are a lot of us out here who haven’t registered and don’t appear in the statistics and the base statistics that we have are just that people who absolutely need to go and make sure that they are registered thank you very much I don’t think this is okay I think that would that would take very quickly like this but I think my friend is absolutely hit on it this is not just about the money though getting people in as we heard earlier on whether it’s a pinched small H or when they leave an employee or where they leave the Armed Forces he’s absolutely funny my hearing was not tested when I left the Armed Forces supposed to have done that wasn’t and if anybody can find when it was then I can take take them on about that what we’re trying to what I’m trying to raise is not whether they interpret the conversation at someone else’s decision but they’re not entirely convinced of a compensation unless we get them tested and if we can get them tested then they relatively note especially assess why on the forehead what type of what chord the causal effects of the style of the deafness will be and there’s a myriad of different reasons but actually industrial damage is pretty well defined so for me here today one on thrilled there’s so many people here on a Thursday afternoon when the other chamber has probably got half if not less than half of the men that people we brought in here now and perhaps miss but mine will friend and I might go back to the business back there Business Committee and we have a property right

on the floor of the house on some of the specifics of what we’ve discussed today and if necessary that should be on asset access to work because that is a life changer and has been for many people and we mustn’t lose that life-changing ability I’ve come back to my career attempt at that later I wanted to speak about a number of things much of which has already been said but I also welcome very much an congratulate my own boyfriend for bringing the debate here today and indeed commend him for the work that he’s done through the APB G on raising this issue across the house and I that there are approximately 1 million people in Scotland who suffer hearing loss and I am one of them about 15 years ago I began to find that my hearing was deteriorating and I didn’t do much about it I was just very irritating with my friends and family not not hearing things but eventually I was persuaded to go and and and get some treatment and I was diagnosed and I’ve got a problem of degeneration in the inner ear which was a cog an inherited trait that I’ve got it means that it means that I can’t hear some frequencies but I can hear others so some frequencies are here at full volume others I hear at just thirty or forty percent and that means I lose a lot of the sense of what people are saying to me and I am beyond gratitude for the four nHS Lothian and our Public Health Service and what they have been able to do for me I wear hearing aids like my honourable friend too and they are they I mean the degree of Technology and sophistication and these little things is really quite remarkable there are these are many computers in here that take in all frequencies and decide to boost the ones that I am weak on and it means that I can by and large hear relatively normally having said and I’m also on a place on record and the efforts of the of the house authorities and particularly the loop in the chamber I find very very effective indeed of course there are still drawbacks I mean and and those who like me wear hearing aids will be aware of us as well I mean for example when I when I’m in the chamber taking part in the debate and I have the setting for the Louvre if somebody or a colleague says something beside sitting beside me I don’t get it I have to actually reprogram the aide and try and tear and and find out what they’re saying or just northern pretend I’ve got the gist of what they were saying to me which happens quite often as well and of course with these ones I I noticed they can be irritating to me and to other people in close proximity with the degree of feedback we sometimes get and the the whistling sound but it’s worth putting up with these minor drawbacks I think to be able to take advantage of this great technology and as I say I have got these on the NHS and I am very very grateful indeed to receive them I think these instruments are I have I know they’re state-of-the-art technology and they are they match anything that’s available in the private sector and I in fact I I have some friends who are either for through inclination or ignorance have decided to go private to some of the agencies in the high street to try and retail hearing aids and they’ve got a service which is far inferior to mine and eventually for my advice they go to their local audiology department and get better treatment so that’s just something of why I have a particular interest in this debate but of course I’m mindful also that this is probably one of the most common disabilities we as a species suffer there’s probably more of my constituents who suffer hearing loss than actually voted for me on June 8th that’s how prevalent the the situation is and and and and therefore I wanted I wanted just to spend a little time because others have mentioned it talking about the situation in Scotland particularly with regard to BSL you would see from though any any one BSL users watching what I did at the beginning will understand I I cannot sign but I tried to learn that opening line because I know as time goes on I will want to learn BSL and I will be something I rely upon and later years therefore it’s very important to me but it’s important to me in the here and now because of so many people for whom that is a vital means of communication now it’s been referred to already that the in 2015 the Scottish Parliament passed the BSL Scotland act it did so through an initiative from an individual MSP who decided to bring this to the Parliament in fact not one of mine a Labour MSP and it was passed with every party all five parties in full agreement passed unanimously and one of the key things

that that act did was to launch a process to establish a national action plan to promote and develop BSL in Scotland with the simple objective of making Scotland the best place in the world to be a BSL user and to live and work and play that was the simple objective and I say this colleagues not to blow Scotland’s trumpet although it is part of my brief to do that and not to say that you know Scotland is better than the rest of the UK but simply to say that if you take the time and sit down and talk about these things and draw a plan you’ll be surprised at just how much can be done and I do ask the minister and ask the government to look at the situation now that’s developing in Scotland and maybe see how much of that could be replicated on a uk-wide basis the national plan was published in in in in September it’s quite detailed 70 targets I’m not going to go into them all that’s available in the Scottish Government website but before I mention some of the individual targets see I think what’s what’s really important about this was the process because once you actually provide the time in a parliament for a discussion that leads to legislation and you have got the statutory force of these discussions taking place things begin to go on the agenda and come out of the woodwork that you never thought about and it’s a stimulus to all manner of you know people in in civic society and in government agencies to think about how they can actually improve the situation so there are 70 detailed targets set here for the next three years I mean it’s just to give you a flavor of them the very first one by the way is to look at how we can build into the 2021 census a question or a series of questions which identify in detail the number of BSL users that are taking part in that census so that we have the data on which to plan in the future numbered target 10 talks about an early years improvement the early years say of service to make sure that young children of BSL user song deaf children have got access to those services and 16 talks about removing the barriers for BSL users to become teachers not just to teach in the medium of BSL but to teach through interpretation hearing kids as well 25 talks about targets on our colleges and universities and the next target actually very important it makes loans available for BSL students and I’m very pleased to say that this just this week the Scottish government announced that those loans will be available for students in Scotland to study throughout the UK if the course is not available in Scotland so we know of a situation where we can support BSL users who are students in Scotland but able to go to courses in England and Wales as well the page target 39 is about health but making sure that all of our health screening programs and our immunization programs have got the medium of BSL built into them so that BSL users have full access to that 48 is about sport 53 is about placing obligations on transport providers and our rail and bus providers to make sure that they understand the needs of BSL users and have that available as a means of communication 57 is about access to the Arts target 63 is about making sure our fire and emergency services and our Police Service understand the the needs of BSL users and in use able have a facility to be able to communicate with them on that basis and finally the last one I’d pick is that there’s a target in there as well to actually improve electoral participation of boating by BSL users in the in the political process so a series of you know very good targets but probably the the best thing about them is that it’s the way in which BSL users themselves have bought into the process and have become part of developing this action plan and a full 1.3 million pounds has been provided to a number of death voluntary organizations to monitor how these targets develop and how they are implemented and then in 2020 the intention is to come back with a full government review against across all agencies to make sure that we look at the next stage so these are these are practical achievable steps that can be taken many of which don’t involve a lot of money they actually can be done within existing budgets they require changes in attitudes so I think I mean again just to say the importance of having a statutory framework and setting all these things done as targets for government agencies and and given that that statutory force cannot be underestimated and I know you know I know time there’s always pressure not as I said a program but it’s to have a a UK BSL act that would do some of these things wouldn’t take a lot parliamentary time it needn’t be a very complicated bill it could be focused upon and I think you know that even if we have to give up in a three hours you know a backbench debate or two in order to get this through I think it would be something

worth doing and I’m sure if the government were to take an initiative they would find all parties commending them and being part of it and finally I wanted to talk about the situation of access to work as well and a number of people have raised this but I think it’s important to stress that we now have a situation coming we’re of course existing claimants who were part of the benefit the program who weren’t limited until now it was new claimants with a cap applied but no existing claimants are going to be subject to that cap as well and that is going to mean it’s some people who are in employment at the minute are going to have to reduce their employment or leave their employment altogether that’s the truth of the matter it may not be a great number of people but that’s what’s going to happen and I know that the DWP themselves say that only about two hundred two hundred and sixty-seven I think is the number of people they estimate will be affected by the cap I mean I have to say to colleagues that’s not a great number of people and this really does look like penny-pinching when you compare this to the scale of the DWP budget so you getting a cost-benefit analysis plus which was 1.34 1.50 and of course a lot of the people that he’s describing are senior professionals chief execs is etc they’ve beyond 40 percent tax so it’s an investment which actually will give the Treasury more money bite than just a basic I couldn’t agree more because you if you’ve got some deep in work and getting the support through the scheme then not only are they are any money in paying tax but the people who are supporting them are earning money and paying tax as well so you know there are all sorts of ways in which this makes sense but my my key point is that given the small number of people who are affected you know is this really worth it would it not be better just not to have the cap and then assess the situation later on because I say this I mean look the reason why it’s expensive is because the nature of the of the support that people need it in this part of the program if you are deaf and a BSL user it is expensive you know and it’s expensive because it’s undertaken by hardworking professional people like these who have trained very hard to for the job that they do now it might be that at some stage in the future the developments in audio technology and computer graphics will be such that will we’ll get an app on our smartphone that will turn speech into sign in a way that works who knows but that’s for the future for now we need professional human beings to be able to provide this service and I think we should accept as a society that for the limited number of people that are affected by this that is a price that’s worth paying and perhaps look at other ways rather than the cap and rather than restricting the the services provided in into to reduce costs and finally I’d just like to finish by talking about the Parliament itself and some of the things that we might be able to do here this has been touched I think it’s wonderful that we have these proceedings signed today I don’t know why we don’t have a signer standing beside the speaker’s chair to be honest and you know filmed for all of the proceedings in our Parliament when you think of the amount of money we spend in this place number of staff that we have the there might be spent on maintenance there might we’re going to spend on refurbishment I mean it’s not that big a price to make sure that the 30 hours a week or whatever that the chamber is actually in operation and debating that there is a signer there doing it both for the people in the chamber but doing it more importantly for the people who are watching online or the people who are recording the proceedings in which to to check back on it another thing that we could do of course is that you you members colleagues will be aware that there is a scheme in the in the parliament which I haven’t taken advantage of yet but I’m sure some have where you can you can get tuition in a foreign language why don’t we add BSL to that why don’t each of us as MPs have an opportunity to learn BSL as part of our professional development as members of parliament so that we’re better able to communicate with our own constituents and so that were better aware of the of the needs of this technology so that that’s all I have to say miss but i just end by again stressing the central point i think that i want to make which is it you cannot underestimate the importance of having a legislative framework and the sense of purpose that that gives to civil society to statutory agencies and the sense i suppose of of worth that also gives to those people who are looking for us respond to their needs in this area Pierce I also like to add my gratitude to the member for popular and Limehouse not just for this debate but for the work he’s done for many many years on this subject he truly is a great

champion I’d also like to mention the Honourable member for Rochester and strewed for sharing her personal story which struck me particularly when she talked about her mother’s isolation because my late mother-in-law was one of the most social people people you’d ever meet show her a piano and she played for two hours and and then she lost her hearing and with losing her hearing she lost her social circle and became incredibly lonely and we hear a lot about elderly people being lonely and I wonder how much hearing loss has something to do with that and this is a very broad debate and in fact the debate is as broad as the challenges that face people living with deafness so I’ll confine my remarks to two particular areas one is cochlear implants there is a case that’s been brought to me by a number of my constituents one of whom is the grandmother of Jacob Jacob needs a cochlear implant he’s profoundly deaf in the right ear and severely deaf in the left he’s four years old he’s been tested by some Thomas’s hospital cochlear implant team who supported the case for an implant that the NHS have turned him down they’ve only been told that they can only have this implant if they can raise 44,000 pounds now my constituents are not the most affluent in the country but they are truly wonderful and this won’t be the first case where they’ve crowdfunded to help help somebody they helped a young mother last year to get a second stem cell transplant and their campaign which is helped Jacob here has run boot sales and raffles and faiths and they’ve nearly raised all the money which is great news but it does beg the question what is the NHS for if it is not to help children like Jacob and spending taxpayers money at this point surely has the potential to repay handsomely over the lifetime of this young boy it may be expensive to fund but what is the expense of not funding both financial and social um I also wanted to touch on access to work as a quite a number of my constituents and our British sign language interpreters and many of them have written to me one of them Joanne she works regularly with people whom access to work help participate fully and equally at work in 2015 the DWP as we’ve mentioned imposed a cap on access to work awards and joanna is worried that the cap will act as a glass ceiling on deaf colleagues and friends career aspirations those with hearing loss won’t be able to apply for promotions or look to develop their career because the access to work support won’t be sufficient so it means they’d only be able to book interpreters for maybe three days a week so what would happen to the other two days deaf professionals are left at a disadvantage with stress and frustration seeing them being removed from viable career paths consequences can be a reduction to their working hours or in some cases complete removal from her employment there are self-employed deaf professionals within the arts who haven’t been able to develop projects due to lack of access and research done by the group deaf atw with people whose awards have already been capped or due to be capped next year shows negative impact on careers and aspiration especially affected our deaf people who are in or aspire to professional managerial or leadership roles all those who are self employed and run their own business another of my constituents Andrew is deaf he uses British sign language and he works as a senior team administrator with Surrey County Council access to work pays for the interpreters and the note-taking which enables his communication with colleagues customers and others and helps him participate more fully and equally at work even though it doesn’t stretch to provide assistance at longer meetings what is impossible to focus on the interpreter and take notes at the same time that said the support he gets by says to work which we all agree is a fantastic system is likely to be much more than what would be a reasonable adjustment for his employer to make in case it’s like Andrews access to work has revolution right revolutionized the career opportunities of people like him shattering the glass ceiling which previously limited them often to manual jobs it has meant a progression for deaf people which is down to talent which is what it should be there are now deaf chief executives deaf intermediaries working at the Ministry of Justice deaf theatre directors deaf social workers and a deaf senior team administrator at Surry County Council and I’m concerned that a new policy will undo that good work in September deaf atw ran a survey amongst deaf people about access to work amongst those who will be subject to the

access to work cap from 2018 nearly half said that they would not apply for promotions in future because they were worried that in a new job they wouldn’t have enough communication support because of the cat but the same reason a fifth said they already had opportunities to apply but had not applied and nearly half said they would stay with their current employer for as long as possible because they were worried what a new employer might think about the effect of the cap on their ability to do their job and we hear a lot when we talk about growth about the productivity puzzle well it’s no wonder it’s not much of a puzzle really if we’re limiting people in the ability of where their talent can take them by this cut in around a third of the cases the employer was either taking or thinking about taking action to check whether the individual could still do their job properly so deaf people fear that having a capital ward means they won’t be able to do their job properly and the employers are concerned about it too as a consequence deaf people whether capital ready to be capped in 2018 or not capped in the current work said they’re already avoiding applying to work in professional managerial and senior roles because of this back in 2015 the government said that they were clear that one of the key challenges in administering access to work is managing Adam under LED program within a defined budget they said we must achieve a balance between meeting concept customer need and achieving value for money for the taxpayer it has been a long-standing aspiration of the program to support more disabled people into work so you must address the challenge of supporting the growth while keeping access to work affordable but I would say that this is money well spent I couldn’t find more recent figures but in the size report in 2011 it set out that for every pound spent one pound 40 came back one pair 48 came back to the Treasury so this is clearly a spending to save the minister may be aware but that in July 2015 the government responded to the work on pension select committee report which was entitled improving access to work for disabled people in terms of the statistics the report was scathing and it said the lack of transparency is unacceptable we recommend that the DWP change its approach to access to work statistics and that as a minimum it regularly publishes the following information an indicative annual budget annual expenditure out turns broken down by support element the impairment type including autism spectrum disorders the number of service users by size of employer the employers mandatory and voluntary financial contributions broken down the size of employer now in its response the government admitted there was work to do to meet these requirements so can the minister either now or possibly write to me afterwards update us on progress of the access to work statistics we heard from the previous minister who said there were a lot of statistics available so I would be very pleased if he could write to me after this to let me know what Pro is that we made on supplying that information and can the minister also provide figures to show the trend in the numbers of deaf people supported by access to work prior to the initial introduction of the access to work cap and after its introduction the Select Committee also highlighted a particularly strong case for the DWP to improve the accessibility of its disability related services recommending that the DWP reduce a video relay system to enable deaf BSL users to contact the department more easily could the Melissa advised if there’s been any progress on this and just as a just a reminder really when I got here earlier I saw the signer I recalled that when the Work and Pensions Select Committee in 2015 actually undertook a review into access to work we had a session where deaf people came and gave evidence and deaf people were in the audience and no one had thought to book a signer luckily one of my constituents had come to watch and he was qualified signer and took over and and helped us but if in this place sometimes we do things very well and sometimes we really do overlook things and if a work and pension select committee looking into accessibility for deaf people didn’t think to have a signer but it just goes to show that we really must do better in this and this is a step forward today thank you it’s twist told me to take part in this debate and it’s a pleasure to serve on to us chair I’m sure that most of us know many people who are affected by hearing loss to some degree and we know of the real impact this has on on their lives in my own case both of my parents have been affected my dad who died a couple years ago had industrial deafness

caused by his work in a factory and the effects of that lasted a long time clearly and I welcomed the comments made by the Theon remember opposite who is now left mr. penning to recognize the industrial injuries aspect my mom resisted hearing aids for many years but the difference which they made her life when she finally gave in was and continues to be absolutely immense and is immense to us as well of course that’s why I was so concerned to hear from action on hearing loss who I met recently that there are some clinical commissioning groups who are proposing restricting the prescription of hearing aids to people with mild and moderate hearing loss and indeed some authority don’t still like north staffordshire CCG which has been referred to earlier hearing aids not only make a real difference to people with mild and moderate hearing loss but research shows that they reduce social isolation and depression and new evidence suggests that they can reduce the risk of developing dementia indeed a study in The Lancet recognized hearing loss as potentially the largest modifiable risk factor for dementia so that we can do something about that I hope that the minister will make it clear that hearing aids must be provided were they’re needed as my noble friend the member for poplar and Limehouse has left out clearly the cash limit on the access to work scheme has also had a significant impact on many people with hearing loss limiting their ability to do their job properly or in some cases meaning that they may not be offered jobs because of the shortfall in financial support so again I would ask the government to look again at removing or raising the cap I would also like to echo my honorable friends call for further work on implementation of the action plan on hearing loss as he has just described it some good work has been done already but I would ask the minister to ensure that the government step up its work on implementing the plan finally in the summer I met Erin Erin is a young woman who is campaigning with the National deaf children society to have British sign language recognises a GCSE and made available to all students I joined the Honourable member for Waveney and Erin in calling for GSC for British sign language to be a GCSE subject thank you this book it’s a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship today and I want to start by thanking my honourable friend the member for poplar and Limehouse for securing this debate this is absolutely one of those occasions when the only suitable ministerial and departmental response to the word spoken in this debate is urgent action to review reconsider and change course helping deaf people working doing this across government not working in silos and putting deaf people at the center of the decision-making process and and I also include a really important area which people have talked about quite a lot today which is the DWP where access to work actually needs promoting not capping because when that cap comes in unfortunately that will affect so many of our deaf and hard-of-hearing constituents when we come to the end of the period of grace in April 2008 een now I’m the eldest child of deaf parents and I was their voice in ears from a very young age and that was invaluable to them to enable them to be easily heard and understood in a deaf world my dad was born deaf and my mum became deaf at four years of age and I’d say I was kidnapped by the deaf community at birth because my culture my language and my community is theirs and that poses me quite some difficulties on occasion because I can be very straightforward in the way I deal with matters now if my language is my first language is BSL not sub science ported English which most people think is BSL which it is not and I have to tell tell you that I was tempted to sign my whole speech and I was going to do that and have the interpreters voice over my comments for my colleagues to give everybody a feel for how it is not to be able to communicate directly not for a minute not for a sentence but for five minutes or however long it takes me to finish this not to be able to communicate directly to the person you’re talking to

is really really strange and difficult and deaf people feel that experience that every single minute of their lives so my experiences and the difficulties I saw in communicating and led me for example when I was Lord Mayor to provide every deaf person in Liverpool with the mini-com what I got the way we paid for it is we’ve got children in schools to learn the Deaf alphabet they saw it as a secret language they really enjoyed it I got many comms from everybody who was deaf in the report you might ask why was that so important we talk about isolation but even though I thought I understood now I thought I got it I’m a product of that environment I came home with a Minicon for my dad and I gave it to him he looked at it and he was so happy he then got it and went nine-nine our world and he said who else can I call nobody else has got one only the emergency services and the doctor and I thought right I get the message every deaf person in Liverpool and that’s what made me realize that I needed to get on with it and get everybody a Minicon so mobile phones have improved the situation and as the member for Milton Keynes South was outlined we’re not progressing with transmission services as we showed in Chris Jones is somebody I’ve known for many years and it is a really important thing but it’s this agenda is so large we need the minister the minister’s across government to start tackling it very quickly being able to communicate is a is fundamental to doing your job it’s fundamental to doing a good job so the evidence is clear that access to work is a system that enables deaf people particularly those who use BSL to use their own voices in the workplace getting the communication support that they need I mean I can tell you I’m probably when I think about it one of the first instance examples of this because as a child and I mean a child eight nine onwards I used to sit on a Friday night my dad was a plasterer and he was so good and I genuinely mean that the directors of building companies forgotten phone him or where they used to come to up my house sit down round the table and instead of all these millions of bits of paper going I was drafted into be the person from access to earth and he and he did really well he kept getting more and more money they wanted him the prices went off and I did it every few months so the evidence for me is very clear this cat doesn’t simply hinder deaf people’s ability to do their jobs it will cause them to turn down employment offers and promotions it might have met meant my dad didn’t get such a good deal for his next contract it leaves self-employed people in a very precarious position in which the small profits they make and they’ve worked really hard to earn go to go towards expensive interpretation costs this is no absolutely no not a cost-effective way to work UK Council on deafness found that those who whose income will be captain in April nearly half of them said they wouldn’t even apply for promotions in future because they worried they wouldn’t receive enough communication support clearly this presents barriers to those aspiring for careers in professional managerial and senior roles I have a friend who was a head teacher of a desk or without support how is this this going to happen therefore we need to allow deaf people to progress as far as their talent allows I’ve spoken to many other deaf people in lower roles but aspiring to do better and actually they’ve stopped looking for words and are now living every day in fear that they may lose the jobs they have and every day is a challenge especially if they lose that support for two days a week we all must be clear deafness is not a limiting learning disability there is no reason why deaf people can’t secure employment and senior roles as long government decisions don’t dampen down the support they require central government cannot just can’t sit back in the hope that the employers and self-employed will simply make up the 2-day deficit in the support costs and the cap is that the cap is estimated to impose especially when employers are already saying that they’re not

confident about their business employing a person with a hearing loss as it is we simply can’t waste huge waves of talent and I know my dad who was born deaf sorry it’s probably one of the greatest men I’ve ever known he was fantastically clever but he was deaf didn’t stop him doing anything and we shouldn’t allow that to happen sorry um does the minister therefore accept that the cap reimpose his limits on the ambitions and financial security of deaf people and leaves the next generation without the belief without the ability to succeed in a 21st century workplace they can my dad did it he died now he’s 91 he did it before he was a trailblazer don’t stop the new trailblazers help them to forge ahead it’s also vital that the Minister recognizes the fact that outside this place the majority of British citizens and employers lock awareness of access to work and that really does help explain why a recent labour for surveys found that 30 percent of working-age people who identified themselves as having a hearing loss are not employed I actually believe it is higher than that but the minister I would ask to administer whether he recognizes the need for a single gateway that would have provide assistance and advice for employers seeking access to work for their employees who are deaf or having a hearing loss and I’m I’ve listened to people refer to deafness as an invisible handicap absolutely it is it’s an invisible disability but that also means it’s an easy hit for for cuts especially in the NHS education and the DWP and we must really guard against taking that easy quick solution in the hope that deaf people those the heart of hearing people won’t be able to articulate the anger they feel at the treatment they get I mean I I’ve got two hearing aids and I would say to to the Minister my hearing deteriorated to such an extent that I need a communication support to do my job what these rules enable me to do that job effectively as an MP and if not how is everybody else supposed to do theirs under these rules is it not just really jeopardizing employment not helping increase it within the deaf and hard-of-hearing community I just want to go into a slightly different subject I said before my first language was sign language and I was delighted earlier this year that the Labour Party manifesto committed to giving BSL full legal recognition and that would improve the structures and the expectation of full language access through fully qualified interpreters in all aspects or fields of public life but that leads to a question if we don’t value the government doesn’t value interpretation doesn’t in value interpreters then how does that encourage people to take up those roles and what will we do if people are not learning BSL and are not being there in as interpreters we’ve already got cases where unqualified people are in court and actually interpreting and that is wrong they have no idea about Deaf culture no idea about the nuances and what people really mean there’s a difference between somebody who’s just learning sign language and who is really fluent or whose first language it is and who understands what a deaf person is really really saying and so what I would say is we need to value those interpreters so my final question almost to the minister is does he agree that the legal recognition will provide another means of improving awareness of deafness of the barriers deaf people are dealing with and those with hearing loss in the workplace the reason I keep looking offers I keep hearing somebody speaking over there so know what that is so I apologize so improving awareness of the Deaf and those with hearing loss in the workplace and we need to ensure that access to work is just extended to many more employers than the current minuscule few who actually use it I do look forward to hearing the minister’s reply but I would ask him he will be judged ultimately on the ability of the deaf population the

deaf community and those with hearing loss there are their abilities to succeed to realize their potentials and you know that means in every part of their lives particularly in the workplace and in education because without those two things and health what are we to do please give them the same chances that we get under your chairmanship today and to take part in this very important to me that’s been secured for the Honourable member for popular and light posts a debate which has also been very consensual across the host and I think that is extremely welcome this will be the first time that I have personally ever been signed as well as it being the first time an out of parliamentary debate and I certainly hope it can become a regular regular feature in Parliament and it would be nice if it was on the live feed not just on the rebroadcast I don’t know that something or whose room it can take it back to the parliamentary authorities or the admin committee to perhaps discuss it further with the broadcasters to see how fir base we can implement the ina just to give me to thank you all of them for pokeman like those for achieving Mississippi I think that as a tremendous first I would like to echo the calls made by the member from Milton Keynes house that this should become a regular feature and various members have discussed their end points that the multiplicity of government departments are responsible for this whole sphere and this certainly does seem to be a need for that to be at the very least if not just simplified at least have a clear identified elite which might be an easier and easier route we’ve heard today of the many DTD difficulties experienced by those who are hard of hearing affecting one in six people perfect hearing loss the fact that the less likely to be unemployment on one hand as welcome news that technology is making it easier for people suffering from deafness to work well on the other hand it’s also worrying that the cap on access to work support has disproportionately impacted those with heating loss and that points been very well made today I don’t think I need to emphasize any any further but the cost-benefit ratio of 1048 for every pound spent there says all I think in financial terms various members have given their personal stories and accounts the member for Rochester and strode clearly illustrated that and was also grateful for the member for Wolverhampton southeast for the KC identify ders as well which are very human dimension on to the whole case I I can’t imagine what it would be like not to hear my family or listen to music up no comprehension of how awful that would be but there are ways that we can help people and we should do everything we can to ensure a better quality life for everyone and did that effectively is the challenge of today is to ensure that deaf people can be fully involved in daily and public life as active healthy citizens and make informed choices about every aspect of their own lives my colleague from Umbra South’s covered much of what happens in Scotland I will mention a few of the points again we have the Scottish Government British sign language national plan which has as has been said he aims to make Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to live work and visit they seem to be regular featured in the beats I’m always telling people come and visit my constituency as well myself emphasize again is a great place if you’ve not been do come the BSA l Scotland Act 2015 requires public bodies in Scotland to publish the plans every six years showing how they will promote and support BSL and this plan is the first national plan covering the Scottish government and other public bodies including councils NHS boards colleges and universities will also be publishing plans next year the national plan which runs from 2017 to 23 is the first of its kind in the UK and set so 10 long-term goals for BSL in Scotland covering early years and education training and work health mental health and well-being transport culture and the arts justice and democracy it describes 70 action Scottish Ministers will take by 2020 quit after a progress report shall be published and further set of actions for delivery by 2023 will be identified my honourable friend friend Maurice mentioned several of those key action points are doing you need to do again I I can perhaps everyone thinking about a seventy first I might feed into the next trend for the Scottish government and it’s maybe one that we should take forward at this Parliament as well and that’s what we as individual elected members do to facilitate that in preparing for this debate thought what do we do for home visits for people visiting our constituency offices there’s a number of issues there may be we also need parliamentary games with how best to service all of our constituents with their inquiries in Scotland this as it’s been pointed over my colleague gets a lot of it is about attitude but our plan has also backed up by money in 1.3 million is be put in to support it which is not a grand amount but it’s enough to do a fair amount of work the doctor Teddy Riley the cheat of the British death Association Chia said the Scottish Government’s national plan is a

brilliant example for the rest of the United Kingdom to follow so hopefully ministers can have a look at what we’re doing and I have a copy here if anyone once it is I’m not hard of heating i’m pool of vision and i’m pleased to see it’s also in quite large print so it suits suits the like for myself there of the tea as well of course it’s not just through the BS ale national client which the scottish government is taking action to help the disability delivery plan is another area where we can help by removing barriers and promoting independent living and with key target being the reduction in the employment gap between disabled people and the rest of the population and that’s been highlighted today that deaf people are not in as great an important advantage position as other members of society are the Scotland act 2016 devolved a number of powers to set up employment schemes and I quote from it to assess those at risk of becoming long-term unemployed and to help disabled people into work including schemes which seek to help employers find suitable employees and as a result of that power fear start Scotland will operate from 2018 for three years with the aim of helping a minimum of 38,000 people into work a number of those who live also be deaf people and was of hard of hearing at a UK level that also needs to be more done to address that in my opinion gender race and disability gap and tackling P inequality and all occupational segregation and to that and I would support the extension of the P gap reporting to cover gender race and disability and I became the minister’s thoughts on that when when he’s summing up I think better and more statistics could help us greatly in this and his cause another really I would like to hear from the minister and as in relation to the rule of EU law which has played a huge position and upholding the rights of disabled people and ensuring that these rates must be protected post brexit there are many ideas obviously but in particular importance to the deaf community I think will be the employment equality directive of 2000’s and others like the public sector websites and mobile applications directive of 2016 the latter of which requires public sector bodies to ensure that their websites and mobile apps can play with accessibility standards so can be used by disabled people as well as protecting these existing EU measures it’s actually important to ensure that the yuki is not left behind and for example the EU accessibility act is currently being negotiated that I need you that I’ll say again the EU accessibility Act which is currently being negotiated at AU level the equality and Human Rights Commission have said that it will benefit disabled people by providing common rules on accessibility in relation to computers and operating systems ATMs ticketing and check-in machines smartphones TV equipment related to digital television services telephony services and related equipment and it would be great to know what the UK proposals will be for these areas and in the future and the minister can can look into that that would be horrendous there’s much we can learn from different countries I’ve mentioned and my colleague from anybody stirs mentioned what’s happening in Scotland the member for monk in South mentioned some of the things that were happening in Australia so what we can learn from and I look forward to getting the other summing up speeches and seen this to be a go further forward thank you so a pleasure to serve on geo chairmanship and as I thank my honourable friend for bringing this very important subject to our attention and to begin by saying how delighted I am to see that that we do have a signer in the room and it must it must be a really easy thing for us to extend this across the business of this house a really quick a really quick win I think we’ll all agree and I would have to say it’s a real privilege to be responding on behalf of the the Opposition in this debate I’ve been genuinely moved by some of the very powerful personal speeches that we’ve heard today that prepared me far better for this debate than the research I did ahead of it we can look at the statistics we can know the 11 million people are living in the UK with deafness but I think the extent of it listening here in the House today the member for Rochester and Stroud very courageously shared very personal story and I think enriched this debate and we thank her for that the the member fur knotting amis talk to me very moving of his constituent and we heard of a four year old the family of a four year old having to raise forty four thousand pounds to to let a little boy have a chance in life well I think that we’ll all agree that there is something more that we must do and probably the best thing about this debate I said it is opened and risen awareness of him what

he’s an absolutely massive issue we’re talking about deafness we’re talking about loss of hearing we’re talking about people who were born deaf we’re talking about people who become deaf through sometimes through a medical illness and sometimes through the aging process and how are we going to support them all going forward a beginning with the children it is a great concern and members of mention quite rightly the the concern about the screening process for newborn babies and the fact that only a third of these quite frankly come up to standard and are accredited with this needs to be addressed and rest early bearing in mind that 50,000 children in the UK are deaf we must serve them well and make sure that they’re not isolated we must make sure that that their isolation doesn’t begin with the isolated from the parents because the majority 90% of children born deaf are actually born to hearing parents and what implications does this have for the language development of the child if the parents aren’t supported and we know there are ways of supporting with the radio aides and we must make that available to parents is important going forward because we talk we are a lot in this house about the intervention for all children to address all issues in those early years and there can’t be any more important issue to address than this members of quite rightly stressed as a member voice Lancashire said very powerfully that deaf children do not have learning disabilities deaf people do not have learning disabilities and our education system must address this it cannot be right that children with deafness are 42% less likely to get 5 decent GCSEs we are hindering their progress for life at that early stage and it cannot be the way forward and I was also alarmed to learn that since 2011 the number of specialist teachers for the Deaf has actually been reduced by 12% this can’t be the right way forward members have quite rightly stressed the importance of British sign language and I I have to admit personally I never realized until this week that I’ve never thought in through enough and I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s something for some people British sign language is their first language I thought of it somehow something separate that helps and but this increased awareness for me and I think the more this is talked about it is absolutely vital that this is taken seriously in giving given the recognition with the UK’s our signature to the UN Convention but we’ve go more than that and give this language the equal validation that it deserves why can’t it be a GCSE subject if it were to be a GCSE subject no this is beyond the remit of the minister in this department I when I’m sure you’re puffy on to is colleague for education people will take it seriously more people will learn the language there will be more access to the language and therefore people with deafness and will will be able to participate more fully members of white rightly mentioned the cost their human cost as well as a financial cost of isolation not addressed health the statistics in health are quite clear though the number of people he retired early suffering anxiety depression because they no longer coping the world of work people many many elderlies been mentioned who don’t lose their social circle unable to communicate with family the cost of not supporting them through hearing is as men as mentioned by the member for Milton Keynes every supporting them with with telecommunications relay tech systems we should be looking in today these systems to maximize the inclusion for all people the world of work is obviously a massive issue here the the access to work scheme is an absolutely brilliant scheme what is so shocking is that it is probably the DWP’s best-kept secret i recently hosted disability confidence employers event and many of them have mitad that they didn’t they haven’t known about

this scheme at all that there was two aspects to the the world of work in terms of deafness in my view the the deaf person or the person with heart who’s hard of hearing needs support to cope at work and we’ll the employer needs support particularly this more a medium-size employer to understand that the it need not disadvantage their business and as has been mentioned quite rightly today you don’t get i think it was the member fur and i think you said you don’t get the same churn of workforce when when you employ a disabled person if you support them in their workplace and this support doesn’t have to be expensive and sometimes it’s that there’s awareness that just moving somebody seat so they can actually lip read of or letting them sit in a quiet corner of the office background noise isn’t such an issue for them well they so the the message from from the government about the disability confident employers is a very strong and a very useful one but when when we now way that alongside capping they access to work he seems to be caught ascending a contradictory message can we afford not to support people in work what is the cost of not supporting we’d say what a lot of talent and as a as we’ve said this debate cover so many areas and not one government department but not least as I would say the Department for Economic Development because what is the cost of our economy of not utilizing that I’m maximizing the potential of of all our citizens including the death and those who are hard of hearing so I think going going forward what can we do to concrete action on this the actually one for 2015 was very welcome and the recommending Dacians in there I think this Agreement across the house all sides that this is a sensible plan let’s see put into action the works mo the work guys of 2017 this year were an excellent piece of work that I think we would need to build on we can create action every stage is needed ensuring that newborn babies are properly screened and it’s always a high quality supporting parents of deaf children with early intervention supporting skills making sure that the specialist teachers are there and that children aren’t allowed to feel like second-class citizens and promoting BSL a sorry a British sign language within skills allowing it to become a GCSE GCSE subject we should look to the Scottish example that they’re obviously doing an excellent job there and I would say some news half Scottish as Welli if they can do it so can we and I’m sure we’ll do it at least as well we must make sure that that equipment is enhanced and not restricted it I was shocked to hear of CCGs that are beginning to restrict areas in it the criteria for ocular implants must be reviewed we must be looking to aid people’s hearing support people to live full lives not to limit them a lot for lot for ways of limiting them we’ve got to go back to review that alright I would sort of conclude by saying let us invest in unlocking the potential the death in the heart of hearing because I already our economy depends on the talents of all our people the cost of not acting not only because it’s misery for individuals who are discriminated against and excluded from society in the world of work but also stores huge costs in the future for our health support services and of course for our economy the failure to support deaf people to fulfill their potential is costing this economy I would say that we cannot afford not to act thank you thank you very much miss buck thank you so much to to all members for such a I’ve really enjoyed this debate and you know there are many ways I could spend Thursday afternoon but but actually I’ve really enjoyed this debate I’ve learned a lot it’s been a really consensual debate and thank you for the excellent tone of my shadow’s comments on this and I really enjoyed what she had to say as well as everyone has said let me start by congratulating a woman for popular Limehouse for securing the debate through the backbench committee but also to our to our signers thank you for for

doing a first and thank you for working so hard because I can’t I can’t sign but I can only imagine that it is quite hard work to do this for three hours and there are two of them but they’ve worked really hard over there and thank you to them for that I don’t have hearing problem but I do have a site problem which is why I have the lectern here in front of me because the papers are far too far away from me without it is why I always put it into play me think the old party group as well and a number of the members from the group of spoken today for all the work they do in the house here and raising awareness and improving the way that we support about I can’t remember in my time in the house a debate on this subject so it’s certainly long either Jew and an all-party groups can do that the backbench Business Committee is excellent as we’ve heard Ms buck hearing loss is widespread effects in one in six of the UK population is government and it has a massive massive impact on the lives of our constituents and some of the members in this house we’ve heard today some really incredible contributions and really I agree with the lady for Bernice and really moving contributions actually especially the lady for West Lancashire I might say is that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house thank you for the way that you put it I was going to almost intervene on you to give her a chance to to have a drink but she was brilliant in the way as she put it so thank you thank you for that if I start by highlighting the key steps that the government is taking to support those with with hearing loss and deafness I can then move on to to the other important points that are being raised by members during the debate and the whole fee I can cover them all if I don’t apologies in advance or would write to anybody with any points that need to be covered so as we’ve heard from the Honorable known for popular Limehouse in in March 2015 the Department of Health and in HHS England published the action plan on hearing loss for me this is a real statement of intent actually for action across the health and care sector there’s an ongoing program of work which the action plan initiated there 20 separate outcome measures which the unremember touched upon in September working with the department working pensions in the Department for Education and hearing loss charities NHS England issued a series of what works guides providing examples of what we know works in supporting individuals with hearing loss over the course of their lives now these guys aimed at organisations providers commissioners cover hearing loss and employment transition to adulthood for young people with hearing loss and hearing loss and healthy aging and one of the he actions of the plan is the need for clear guidance from commissioners and in July 2016 in actually a single and published the commissioning services for people with hearing loss a framework for clinical commissioning groups snappy titles miss buck we do not do in the NHS as I have learned since arriving there as a minister but as the minister responsible public health I’m I’m very pleased to see this recognizes hearing loss as a quote major public health challenge and I think that’s exactly what it is some but it is a major step forward I think in focusing local commissioners on tackling uncorrect adhering loss and on addressing the variation in access and quality of services that we have across the country the framework has been developed with a range of stakeholders including the voluntary sector groups and professional representatives such as action on hearing loss who we’ve heard mention today the British tinnitus Association ditto who who are all members of the hearing loss and deafness Alliance the guidance is crucial for me in ensuring consistency across the CCG commissioning england and supporting those commissioners as they make decisions on what is effective and good value for their local populations in turn I think it will help reduce inequalities in access and outcomes from hearing services and I recognise the need for us to to maintain momentum on this and to ensure that the action plan secures positive outcomes for those with hearing loss and deafness let me turn to to the points hopefully all of them that have been being raised I would say in response to the member for hammer hence did who I know had to run away my former boss not only am I not only are not the Minister for education DWP DCMS or others I’m not even the minister within health that covers this area but never let never let that stop happy Minister and as I say I have really enjoyed listening to this debate today and and to respond to it so what I’ll do is I mean try and take the points as terms of those that have been raised most I think during the debates probably the smartest way to do it so an unpopular house an opening in debate the member for Bristol East who mentioned her constituent the number for hemel hempstead and pretty much everybody else you spoken has mentioned the access to work scheme so I members concerns about the impact of changes to access to work I understand and of course that the Honourable member for Kluber Limehouse I think it’s gonna be meeting with the member for Kuro the new Minister for disabled people health and work in that early in the new year to discuss in more detail access to work and and the concerns that he has about

that and I’m sure members will realize that I’m very very very clearly not the lady for Truro but I spoke to her at lunchtime today ahead of this debate and and I was also on the front bench with her just just earlier on this afternoon for for the statement on the new command paper and and we will speak after the debate and make sure that she is fully up-to-date on everything that has that has been raised it comes within to her portfolio resources I think it’s worth putting on the record resources for acces to work were more increased in real terms in the 2015 spending review and I appreciate members have all spoken positively about access to work as I as I skin but the resources within a publicly funded Health Service are still finite and they also need to be allocated to the growing numbers coming to the scheme that’s eight percent more people had 80 were atw or access to work provision approved last year than the previous year including 13 percent more more deaf people last year we spent 104 million pounds on the access to work grants an increase from 97 million pounds the year before so as has been said by a number of members access to work is a demand LED scheme and therefore the number and level of awards will reflect this and we we intemperate to continue to meet demand and that the numbers continue to go up I don’t accept the maximum level of support is too low I think the amount of help an individual may receive far from access for work depends on their individual needs and their personal circumstances up to the current maximum of 40 to 100 per year rise in to 43 100 from April next year but this is this is one and a half times the average salary that’s far more than most certainly my constituents I’m sure every every member in this room earng transitional arrangements are in place for existing recipients and those who made a claim before October 2015 the changes don’t apply until April 18 as I said provided their needs remain the same people will receive annual reviews their progress and supporting the transition to the award level the government continually monitors the application of the cap and considering if any further flexibilities might be might be required that’s another point I discussed with the member for trade before the debate today I think she’s acutely aware of the situation it’s not often a minister is able to stand up at a West mystic or debate and actually on the day that something new has been announced and to touch on something new but but I have to say this this this document this command paper improving lives the future of work health and disability which sets our response to last year’s green paper consultation in this document and it’s it’s a weighty tome which I and members will want to study and read through we set out how those users with the greatest needs such as some British sign language users will be offered new managed personal budgets as well as workplace assessments involving their employers to help meet the needs within their award level and deaf customers will also be supported by a dedicated team of special advisers I thought the the member of Eastbourne who is indeed back and and who indeed is indeed a friend from the grand old days of the coalition as he put it I know he had to it had to get away but I thought his point about SMEs was incredibly well made and and he’s well noted the member for him or Hampstead refer to the point about how you employ employing disabled people you get lower churn a number of people have reflected that message in their comments since and I think that is absolutely right mentioned in the chamber earlier during the statement was a company that are based in my constituency called micro link PC and they work with large and small big banks in the city and small SMEs across the country and they’re how the whole focus of their business is to use technology to help people disabled people into work and that of absolutely includes people with with deafness and hearing loss and of course many many people across the charity sector of work work as well to help to help that happen so I heard the member for poppin Limehouse I saw him there standing on the back row during the statement earlier I knew exactly what he was going to say and he didn’t disappoint when he raised the cat and all I can say is I I wrote down here on my on my notes the the comments of the Secretary of State which I know that he will have noted too and he would bring it up with a moment Potrero when he meets her continue to review continue to look at the evidence so I would encourage him to press on that and to continue to look at the evidence because he has that there in black and right from from the Secretary of State so he mentioned as did the member for East born and the lady for Bladen who’s also gone and so did pretty much everybody else who spoke around the legal Russian recognition of British sign language and the case for for a BSL G CSC it is not entirely clear to me which department would lead on legal recognition of British sign language which is kind of the problem that so

many people have referred to today I am sympathetic to that to the calls for strengthening the role of British sign language and and we certainly wants his many people trained and providing support as possible the the message that I that I can only bring today is that at this time a Majesty’s Government is not yet anyway convinced that the way to achieve this is through legislation the Department for for Work and Pensions undertook an extensive market review of which the the final report was published in July of this year this demonstrated that communication requirements miss buck should be addressed on an individual basis and that there is no Universal approach to addressing these needs now we have protections of the legal rights of people who are deaf in the Equality Act of course and in the duties of the NHS and the mandate that I am responsible for giving to NHS England and of course publicly funded social care organisations to conform to what we call the accessible information standard I’m very happy to take this point away it’s come across really clearly from so many members during the debate today and all I would say is that the private member’s ballot is a wonderful thing on the subject of GCSE obviously any changes to the school curriculum particularly the establishment of new GCSEs is something for for the department for education something that members will have the new party group would have to take out with them I know from talking to them before today’s debate because I suspected this would come up by day they say there are no plans this time to introduce further GCSEs beyond those to which the government’s already committed but something tells me the number of popular Limehouse and Hammer hence did in Eastbourne and the other members who’ve spoken today will well with their usual determination follow this through with ministers at the Department of Education who will no doubt noted their comments from this debate today the member leading debate and also the member for all the Hamptons South East talked about the assessment and as did others of course the assessment criteria for cochlear implants they were indeed debated in March when the member had an adjournment debate in which he highlighted the report of the ear foundation and he called for a nice review for nice to review its cochlear implants technology appraisal as the Honorable member will know nice is an independent an expert body which advises us at the department and it has discretion to review its guidance in the light of any new evidence nice is currently working on a on a on a list review for this particular technology appraisal and will consult they tell me with stakeholders in 2018 in the new year so I will make sure that remember that he gets early site of that so he doesn’t have to go looking for it or hear about it on the on the media and all other members who who’ve raised this I am absolutely sure that this will include consideration of thresholds and criteria for getting cochlear implant I understand the noise of planning this consultation because of their recognition of how important this is going beyond the usual review process so I hope that although it doesn’t give me exactly the clarity he wants I hope that he’s helpful in some way to him again the members problem Limehouse and the member for Milton Keynes South your I thought spoke excellently about this they talked about the provision of functional equivalent telecom services for video video text relay services and again obviously telecommunications are do not sit within the Department of Health no matter how big our remit I don’t think we we have that one is buck but it’s very good to hear at the companies such as three and deafplus were at the forefront of providing the equivalent services for their hard-of-hearing customers I wish deafplus all the best in there and this is helpline partnership awards that they’ve been nominated for I I understand that miss Burke the Department for Culture Media and Sport have previously considered the issue of provision of telecom services despite it being a commercial decision for that for the public facing companies themselves decide upon this has included the department engaging with companies and industry and ministers writing to the footsie 100 companies seeking views I hear that feedback from this included views that there were better means of meeting needs of consumers with less reliance upon video relay services of course happy to raise the issues that members have have highlighted with with DCMS colleagues and see what further engagement can be done and I well of course recommend that they look at the Australia’s ample which my humble friend and for North himself spoke about in such glowing terms the the Deaflympics was raised by the member leading the debate my own boyfriend the member for Chatham on else for the Sports Minister I understand as instructed officials in her department to look into how we can ensure great and recognition for the Deaflympics in this country and she will consider their advice in due course she’s a very accessible minister and I know that the number of popular limehouse knows her say he will no doubt take it up with her as well a number of people including the member leading the debate and mumble from the mum for Waveney and the lady for Bristol East talked about improving

pediatric audiology services by the the eye quips the IDI quips the improving quality and psychological services for the record Liz bug so concerns have indeed been raised in relation to accreditation of of paediatric audiology services the independent process of credit ation the I equip services is there to ensure all providers meet a common standard we want all providers to have completed accreditation as quickly as possible the commissioning framework encourages CCGs care commissioning groups to require providers to have completed the I equipped self assessment tool and to have applied for an achieved accreditation within the duration of their contract commissioners must be the one though who drive this forward the accreditation process for for us is an effective means of testing against the standard if during an assessment three findings are raised which show nonconformity to any part of it then the service agrees appropriate and proven actions with the yuccas team to rectify these and prevent it reoccurring the men poppin Limehouse and so many and I even mentioned it my raise it my I questioned myself on this as to which government Department leads on on British sign language on BSL are I completely appreciate the frustration you know in that there can only ever be one minister at the box but what you really need is a that of me merged into the Honourable lady for true and the Oliver lady but Chatwin else but which would be an interesting sight but I would totally appreciate the frustration that there’s no single government department which leads on British sign language I suppose you know in really in probably just making the point worse I suppose it would depend on the context so be it being an education which would be for obviously DfE or how BSL is used in health settings in line with the accessible standard that I mentioned that would obviously be for for my my colleagues at the Department of Health but I totally take his point and and want to take that away the member for Eastbourne who who I do know well and and in his welcome welcome back to the house talked about screening for hearing loss in adults and he may made the point very well that we don’t just focus on people with complete hearing loss he said to me the other day that his fear was the debate would be about the deaf deaf as he as he put it and he wants to ensure that people with partial hearing loss get the support they need he made the point very well I thought that people begin to lose their hearing later in life as as age catches up with us all but they still accept this as part of the natural aging process and they’re often reluctant to admit they have a hearing problem don’t seek as prompt support as they might with other conditions and as we’ve heard they often he said they often wait years before going for a hearing test so we heard calls from him is back for for the introduction of a hearing loss screening program for the people at the age of 66 once they reach retirement and as part of the NHS health check for people aged 40 to 70 and and I am I am responsible for the health check program the current advice from the UK national screening committee the expert group which advises ministers on all aspects of screening is that the evidence doesn’t demonstrate that Universal screening would provide any hearing related improvement in quality of life in comparison to hearing loss identified thrip through other channels however I think the member for eSport does make a persuasive argument that we can do more to identify hearing loss as people reach our older age and he said that the the general election intervened but he as he said he is also back and I don’t doubt that I will be hearing from him again probably at health questions in a couple weeks time on this subject and I would be more than happy to do so to be honest he also remembers respond this is mentioned CC DS commissioning of audiology services so NHS England’s commissioning framework captures the importance of audiology and monthly waiting times data for audiology are indeed collected miss back and they can be used and should be used by members and by the public to hold commissioners to account touch on the member for Waveney who who spoke about my own boyfriend who spoke about support for children with hearing loss and he spoke about his constituents son Daniel it’s so often the case isn’t it and I Iran I was a vice chair of the the all party autism group for many years when I was on the back benches and we often used to hear in that group about the the so-called middle class parents with the sharp elbows who managed to get their children what their children needed and and of course that that’s only human nature but it shouldn’t be the sharp elbows of the middle classes or anybody else that gets their children what they need that’s what the state is there for him in in my opinion children with a with a special educational need as a result of their deafness will will benefit from the more integrated approach I think to to meeting their needs since 2014 a new

framework requires CCGs and local authorities to make joint arrangements for assessing the range of eligible children’s needs and the development of what he rightly referred to as the education health and care plans to provide necessary support and I think every member in this debate and every member in this has case work around eh CPS these arrangements are transforming the support available to children young people by joining up services for the 0 to 25 year olds as the scope they have across education health and social care and by focusing on the positive outcomes hee hee hee is right to take up the casework and I’d do it myself and I think that the the performance of local authorities is vastly different across the country and I know from speaking to him outside of this debate that he is working very closely with his local authority as I would expect him to do so and that he is being impressed by the improvements that they’ve made I don’t doubt that’s because of the pressure that he’s put on them he actually used the term in his speech and I wrote it down the right support right from the start and I don’t think that was any accident because I had an invitation today as a member of parliament all did from the National national deaf children’s Society which he referred to his remarks that requesting the pleasure of my company in the event on the 10th of January MS buck called technology and deaf children getting the right support right from the start and and mr. speaker has very kindly allowed that to be in the state rooms and speakers house at lunchtime on the 10th of January and I think that would be an excellent event and I hope it’s well attended I suspect it will be by all members but all members in this room what else can i move on to special educational needs funding the member for wave me touched on that as well I didn’t see the implementation of the the new sense system has been supported by significant new investment miss buck that includes 70 million pound in 1415 113 million pounds in in 14 through 217 in the implementation funding and 45 million pounds in the same period for independent supporters for families Ofsted and the CQC are reviewing all local authorities and they should they know this and their CCG partners in how they work together to meet the needs of children with sin as the eh CPS come come into force so the assessment criteria is there and it is very much on their on their shoulders my humble friend the lady for Rochester and strewed is in a brilliant speech if I may say so a very personal speech which is it’s never easy to do that in this place you get lots of retweets for doing it but it’s that’s the easy bit it’s really hard to do it and to mention her mum’s story I thought she spoke brilliantly and she used the term invisible disability which the the lady for Bernie also used in her in her remarks she said she said deafness can take many different forms and have impacts physical and mental I thought she made the case really really coherent me the member for hemel hempstead just just touched on on him again my my former boss for the record I don’t mind at all when former ministers come to debates that I’m responding to especially when they’re former ministers for a department that I did I’m not responsible for it I thought you made the point very well about the scale of the issue of the sort of the hidden deafness that there is in this country and he gave his example of industrial cause of deafness as well the moment for Edinburgh East told us about the the BSL Scotland act and the ensuing National Action Plan which he directed colleagues to look at and I will direct colleagues within the UK government to look at that hats off to the agenting for his attempt at signing a start of his speech I thought that was a very brave brave move so thank you to him for his remarks that the lady for Aerith and Thamesmead she spoke I thought very well and made the point about loneliness and and I wonder whether the the loneliness Commission that our former colleague Joe Cox set up I wonder whether that touched on the issue of deafness and its impact on loneliness there very interesting to know those that are taking that forward whether they um whether they do she spoke about Jacob and the story of Jacob and crowd crowdfunding within her constituency for face cochlear implant and clearly I don’t know the details of his particular case I wouldn’t be fair for me for me to comment but it sounds like her community are are show incredible grace to that little boy and it’ll be wonderful to see him here in the house when when he’s had his had his implant she also raised the issue of the access to work cap again I will write to her or rather my DWP colleagues will on on the point request the specific questions you see are some specific numbers questions and I will write to her on those those point she raises the the lady for West Lancashire who I’ve already referred to she spoke about her kidnapped by the the deaf

community and I would say again it was a very emotional speech I so wish she had done what she threatened to do which was to sign her entire speech as long as she’d given me a copy of it beforehand I mean you know I like to think I can encode but I wouldn’t have coped with it with all of that but but I thank her for her comments especially about a single gateway which I thought was very well made and I know she’s a member of the DWP Select Committee and I suspect she is a member of the all party of the health collect Select Committee sorry but I know she’s well so I’m sure a member of the whole party group and maybe she will be involved in making that suggestion to the to the new Minister for disabled people and talking about the cap on access to work when when they meet with her she also referred to invisible disability the the number for Lynne lists glow and East fall which I hope I’ve got that right the points he made about the gender gap and about the EU law post brexit they definitely don’t fall within my remit miss buck but um you know I can of course write write to him on those points but I would say that you know we we have we have colloquially known the the EU withdraw bill the repeal bill as its colloquial known and we’ve had some some taste in the last week or so around the issue of animal rights and I have to say actually as a as a government MP and a government minister I do take slight umbrage at the suggestion not that he made this suggestion at all but the suggestion that’s made that somehow we need the EU in order to have good right to look after animals in our country let alone our citizens in our country and I don’t buy that for one for one minute we will in import that regulation through the a draw bill and then we will look at it as a sovereign Parliament and decide where we can improve on it and I’m sure there are ways that we can do that and I would also say miss but with the members in this debate and the other members that are interested in this subject I somehow think this subject is not going to go unheard so in closing and then I will give give a couple of minutes to the remember bottom line has to close before we must close this at 4:30 I hope that we’ve had a very interesting debate we’ve also had a very honest debate and I hope I’ve been able to demonstrate across that my now clearly expanding portfolio to two honorable members that we’ve got a very strong framework for supporting people with with hearing loss through a set of quality and commissioning criteria of course within a restrictive budget because they did that is always going to be the case but setting the expectations for commissioners and providers is what we in the Department of Health are are obviously mostly interested in there’s the dedicated action plan on hearing loss being spearheaded by a nature seeing them for which I’m responsible and of course there’s all the the stuff that’s the multi-agency approach that’s enshrined in the action plan we’re doing a lot of course we can always do more there have been some really really good points made in today’s debate whether more people are watching today’s debate and pointless I don’t know but I would say that if more people watch debates like this they’d have a far better opinion of Parliament than maybe some of them do so we have shown a really good debate today we’ve covered a huge amount of ground and I thank very much members for their contributions which have all been from the heart and all been incredibly well informed and we look forward to following up on many of the issues raised I’m very grateful for the opportunity of a few minutes just to sum up and invariably when whichever a colleague is it sums up in these debates they always say with fairly good discussion but not only is that the case it’s been an exceptional to be and I think everybody who’s contribute said there’s been a very personal theme but even those colleagues who didn’t raise a personal experience clearly have a grasp from their constituents of the importance of this subject enough to say for those of you who are not on the all-party parliamentary group mailing list you all know but I suspect everybody already is and the member for Milton Keynes and put his finger on the big issue which of our other sub branches cross departmental we really need a champion and I’ll come back to that Minister and view course my right honorable friend from Wolverhampton southeast and was on cochlear implants and nice and the minister says that’s no bike it would be nine months late but hopefully becoming honorably for Rochester monsford and as the minister said covet our mum’s story very powerfully she did bring a tear to my eye she saw me wiping that because it was such a great explanation of an individual persons never guilty but be told but with clear personal commitment and she made the point about her importance as and to get children born deaf and the first three and a half years through organizations the auditory verbal because the brains can still learn to speak and after that is far too late and that’s why the pathway is so important the Honorable gentleman from respond I gained powerful personal experience I wasn’t sure if he was making a bed to come back as a share of your party parliamentary grip but your lady rate for the HTM for that breeze a great vice chairman really pleased to see them they’re durable gentleman from Whitney and hemel hempstead both called me their honorable friend that doesn’t do me any favors on this

side of the house but but I know it means because we’ve done a lot of good work and a number of committees especially on the fire issue and we are friends and it does and tell people outside that although we may not be in the same division will be very often that we do have friends across the chamber and we do what when there is common purpose and that’s really important multiple friend from Bristol went on I caps and accreditation adorable gentleman pro hemel hempstead but those experiences minister of state from access to work is a powerful ally Yoruba general from Ed Maurice who’s just left to cast his train and talked about BSL money being available for BSL at lessons here that ought to really case I’m sure is the case I think we just need to explore that but he did make the point through his own signage and anime did me and it circled mean it so much the same language is common sense like broke and that he mentioned the one Scotland which is by pates which is really tickles me every time and that I I see that and but he made the point and very clearly about the legislative power of having legislation they in or belief from Thamesmead and a story but Jacob and crowdfunding again powerful as was the the personal story from doorbell lady from bleedin and my honourable friend from West Lancashire with half stories about being having BSL our first language and the access to work issues and the story but delivered for many comes and how dad of whom she is clearly very very very proud and rightly so I’m sure touched everybody in the room I have to say the politics came from the street front benchers you know the place get back to normal when they started talking and which is no just no disrespect at all because you are dealing it from a political point of view but the speeches from Lilith Gulen and Falk up from bun Lee and from the minister clearly understood the issues and we’re very grateful for that my final point at misspoke is that we do need a champion in government BSL needs a champion in government at some point a government department a second just they was going to have to say to a manastar you’re the person for the job and then we can all go and support that person and get our best for a hearing a government I think it’s been a very powerful debate I’m very grateful to both signers for for being here and so the house authorities for facilitating that I hope this is the first of many opportunities and it becomes the norm and I’m going from this part for the opportunity to say these few months in closing thank you question is that this house is considered deafness and hearing loss as many of that opinion say aye the country no I think the eyes have it the eyes have it order order and can I just also say from the chair can we thank the two speakers Sally McGreevy and Richard law for this afternoon I think on behalf of all of us we greatly appreciate their work