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June 2024

UKCoD Health & Social Care Conference

Colleagues from across the health and social sector came together with UKCoD member organisations last week for our annual UKCoD conference. This year the theme was “Creating a Dialogue: Person-centred Practice with D/deaf people in Health and Social Care” and BT once again hosted our conference, this time at BT Centre near St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The conference began with a session focused on Talking to Government. Craig Crowley, Chair of UKCoD, led this session which included a presentation from Susan Daniels OBE, CEO National Deaf Children’s Society who spoke about the progress that’s been made and what it still to do. Dr Jagjit Sethi, Specialist Advisor to the Chief Scientific Officer, NHS England, also gave a presentation outlining her role and the ways in which the NHS is beginning to change, particularly in preparing to deliver their new Long Term Plan.

Two of UKCoD’s trustees, Valerie Copenhagen and Tom Lichy, gave an update on the new strategy that has been developed by the UKCoD Board and also announced next year’s Deaf Awareness Week which will run from 4-10 May 2020 and the theme will be acquired deafness. This is designed to coincide with the VE Day celebrations that will take place in 2020 in the same week, culminating in a special extra bank holiday. It’s a great opportunity for UKCoD members to promote their work with people who have lost their hearing or experienced hearing loss later in life, including military veterans.

Just before lunch Will Hough and Carmen Suen gave a presentation on Deaf mental health nursing – the training available at Salford University and the positive advantages of working as a Deaf professional in the NHS.

After lunch Richard France spoke about his personal experiences and gave a “view from the psychiatric wards”. His powerful story resonated strongly with everyone at the conference and he made the case very persuasively for Deaf-specialist services that really understand Deaf people and culture.

The final session of the conference was focused on Quality in Health and Social Care and began with a keynote presentation from Natalie Reed, Inspection Manager – Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission. After her presentation there was a lively question and answer session with Richard and Natalie, led by UKCoD trustee James Watson-O’Neill. Christopher Reid, Director of Operations, SignHealth and Tim Richardson, Deaf CAMHS/CAMHS also joined the panel for this session.

The conference was generously supported by a number of sponsors – InterpreterNow, SignLive, SignHealth, Association of Lipspeakers and the Association of Verbatim Speech To Text Reporters and British Institute of Verbatim Reporters who also donated to the conference – Thank you all!

We are already in the process of setting the date for next year’s conference and will be in touch soon to confirm the date and topic so watch this space!