All FAQS have BSL videos & English text available

PLEASE NOTE: Calls to NHS 111 & Emergency 999 are excluded from the BSL Health Access Service.

Anyone who needs to communicate using British Sign Language (BSL), in a health situation, can use the service. Deaf and hearing people can both use the service.

The service commences at 9am on Thursday 16 April 2020 and will operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week until further notice.

There are lots of ways to use the service – you can download the InterpreterNow App and register on your phone or tablet or you can go to the website and use your computer and webcam to use the service.

Yes, if you are a hearing person and need help to communicate in a ‘Health care’ scenario in sign language you can call 03333 444 921 and the online interpreter will communicate to the Deaf person for you. All you need is a phone. You don’t need to install any software, just ring the above number.

Yes, absolutely.

You can use the service to help communicate with hearing healthcare staff who are in the same place as you.
Just connect to the service using your smartphone or tablet, (or using a device that’s provided by the hospital), via the InterpreterNow App and sign to the interpreter, they will then speak to the hearing healthcare staff in the room through the speakers on your device.

Yes, absolutely!
This service has been set up because coronavirus makes it even more difficult for Deaf people to access health services but it isn’t limited to people who have coronavirus – you can use it for any health service, including contact with your GP, visiting a pharmacy or any other healthcare matter (such as having a scan during pregnancy for example).

Yes, just make sure that you have downloaded the App onto your device and then sign to the interpreter on the screen when the paramedics arrive – the interpreter will then speak to the paramedics using the speakers on your device.

The service uses fully qualified British Sign Language interpreters – they will adapt their style of communication to suit you. If you prefer to use SSE or you’re from a part of the country that uses certain signs for numbers or other words, the interpreter will work that out with you when you start your call.

No. You can’t use this service to book an interpreter to come and visit you in person but you can use the app whenever you need to. When you visit your Doctor you can open up the App and ask the interpreter to support you to communicate with your Doctor. You don’t need to book to use this service.

No. But if your mum needs help from the NHS then she can use this service to access a health service but unfortunately, you can’t use this service to contact your relatives socially.

Yes. If you already have BSL access to your GP or hospital please keep using that service but if you don’t have that, or if you’re not sure, please use this new service to contact the health service provider that you need.

No – you don’t have to pay to use the service – it is free at the point of use by Deaf people or anyone wanting to communicate in sign language in a health service situation.
We hope that the government will fund this service in the future but, in the meantime, the Deaf health charity, SignHealth is paying for it.

Yes, if you are using the hospital WiFi on your phone or tablet, the firewall may block the video. It would be best to use your own signal (4G) if at all possible.

If you are a health care service provider, please refer to our Tech-Spec that shows configuration for the ports/firewall.

Yes, all the interpreters are fully registered and qualified with either NRCPD or SASLI/ SRLPDC. They have many years experience of working online. All calls are fully confidential, and we do not record calls

You do not have to register to use the service. You can use our website and contact the online interpreter straight away without the need to register. You do need to register however if you wish to use the InterpreterNow App. Registering enables NHS staff to be able to call you back if required and the call back is only available via the InterpreterNow App.

The service is available in public healthcare situations where BSL support is not currently
provided (chemist, GP, dentist etc).
In Scotland, the Scottish Government funds a national video relay service which is called
contactSCOTLAND-BSL.

The contactSCOTLAND-BSL service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be used to call absolutely any service, organisation, or person.
Therefore BSL Health Access would only be used in Scotland for public healthcare situations where there is no face to face interpreter available.

All NHS related services are covered. Including and not limited to: GPs, health clinics, pharmacies/chemists, optometry, dentistry, orthopedics, etc.

No, only NHS funded services are supported through this BSL servic

Just be as prepared as possible.
You must have the telephone number you would like to call!
Please make sure you have a good signal on your device, either WiFi or 4G, and that you are in a well lit room. Please have all of your personal NHS information ready or details of any medicine you might be taking. It is best if you can put your device on a stand so that you can use both hands for signing.

Check that the microphone and speakers are switched on so that the interpreter can hear the hearing person and the hearing person can hear the interpreter.

Yes.
All of our interpreters are qualified and registered meaning they follow a Code of Practice that includes keeping confidentiality unless there is a legal requirement to share information. We do not record your calls.

This service will allow you to communicate with a Deaf patient using their own device or one provided by you or the hospital. The device needs to be placed somewhere that the Deaf person can easily see the interpreter on the screen and you can hear the interpreter and be heard by them. A private space/room is preferable to maintain patient confidentiality. Please be aware that, if you need to examine the patient, it is best to explain what you are going to do before proceeding with the examination rather than explaining while you are examining the patient. Be mindful that the interpreter will interpret everything that they hear to the Deaf patient. There may be times that the interpreter has to ask you to repeat information if they have not heard you or require clarification.

There are some appointments where it may be better to book a face to face interpreter, for example giving a terminal diagnosis or sharing potentially distressing and/or sensitive information. We appreciate that this may not be possible at the current time and our interpreters will work as hard and as sensitively as possible with you to ensure that such information is conveyed in the most appropriate manner possible.