Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

A new 999 service that allows people to make calls using British Sign Language (BSL) was launched on Friday.

The service, 999 BSL, lets deaf users use BSL through an app or website with an interpreter who will relay the conversation to an operator.

It is the first time a 999 emergency service has been made available in BSL.

James Watson-O’Neil, chief executive of deaf health charity Sign Health, said it was a breakthrough for deaf people and “means we are one more step forward towards equality”.

“But what happens when the ambulance arrives?” he added.

“The paramedics won’t be able to sign and there is no national video relay service in England to support them to communicate with deaf people.

“We won’t be satisfied until deaf people have full and equal access to services, particularly life-saving health services.”

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