Texting for a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment

TEXT messaging services from NHS Borders would benefit to people who are deaf and hard of hearing when it comes to making or cancelling appointments and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont is pushing the Scottish Government to provide more help to support those affected.

He has also written to the chief executive of NHS Borders, Calum Campbell, to ask what plans they have to introduce SMS texting.

Mr Lamont said: “It is of the upmost importance that we provide those who are deaf or hard of hearing with all the help we can. Being able to text to book appointments at their local health centre or Borders General Hospital would be a huge step and is something I believe should be adopted by NHS Borders.

“The system is already used by both the AA and the other emergency services so the technology to do this does exist. I have been contacted by the Borders branch of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network who raised their concerns over this.

“We cannot afford any further delay to introduce this scheme. The service is a simple piece of technology that would be a huge help to those in the Borders with hearing difficulty. With such a modest request there can be little excuse for not adapting it.”

During a Scottish Government debate, Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, replied to Mr Lamont: “It is extremely important that, within the national health service in Scotland overall, we look at how we can continue to enable the public to contact the NHS in ways that are most appropriate to them and which reduce potential barriers that they may face because of disabilities.

“We are in the process of developing a national strategy covering a range of electronic contacts with individuals in the NHS. As part of that strategy, we are looking at the various modes and methods that people could use to access the NHS in Scotland. Contact has already been made with BSL group users and we will be inviting the Borders deaf and hard of hearing network to provide its views as we develop the strategy.