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Remote Sign Language Services – HSC Staff Training

Learn about the Remote Sign Language Service

Health and social care staff are being encouraged to learn more about a service helping sign language users’ access HSC services.

The remote sign language interpreting service allows Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) and Irish Sign Language (ISL) to get in touch with HSC services in a timely way. It enables health and social care staff to access a remote interpreter to support their clinical assessment, treatment and care of Deaf people.

The service is free and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All of the BSL and ISL interpreters are qualified, registered and highly experienced.

Provided by SignVideo, the service can be used in GP practices, hospital wards and pharmacies so it is important that staff in these areas are aware of the service and how they can access it to help improve accessibility for Deaf patients and service users.

To promote the service to HSC staff, SignVideo run regular online training sessions. Held on the last Friday of every month, the webinars explain the service to staff, what it can be used for and how to use it.

To register your attendance at the webinars email and you will be sent all the relevant details.

If you are unable to attend you will be able to access a recording of the session afterwards.


What sign language users think of the remote interpreting service

British Sign Language user Avril Scott explains how important the service is for her independence

Irish Sign Language user Jane O’Brien reveals how the service has helped develop her relationship with her GP.


How does the remote interpreting service work

There are two elements to the service, which uses video technology.

  • VRS – Video Relay Service and
  • VRI – Video Remote Interpreting

Video Relay Service

The Video Relay Service was introduced first to ensure immediate access to telephone services at this time.

The Deaf person and the Health and Social Care practitioner, in different locations, access an online interpreter via an internet connected device. It’s just like making a direct phone call.

This service can be used to:

  • Organise a GP appointment
  • Have a non-complex appointment or discussion with GP/HSC practitioner
  • Have a consultation on a ward with a doctor or nurse
  • Make a booking through hospital outpatient services
  • Translate medical advice received in the post
  • Call a pharmacy

Video Remote Interpreting

The Deaf person and Health and Social Care practitioner are in the same location when accessing an interpreter online via secure video link on a screen (e.g. a tablet, smart phone, or computer). It’s like the interpreter is in the room.

This service can be used for things like:

  • short HSC appointments such as a GP appointment
  • a pharmacy consultation
  • attendance at an Emergency Department.