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Health Services (Deaf People)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to make additional resources available to implement the recommendations of the review Sign of the Times; and how his Department will ensure that these resources are channelled directly to this purpose; [100348]

(2) when his Department will announce the results of the consultation into mental health services for deaf people entitled Sign of the Times; and when the recommendations will be implemented; [100347]

(3) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there are better linkages between specialist and local health services for deaf people with mental health problems; [100346]

(4) what his Department is doing to ensure that the National Service Framework for mental health services applies to British sign language users; and if he will make a statement on the process that will be followed to achieve this. [100349]

The Department of Health published a consultation document entitled Sign of the Times in July of last year specifically to address this issue. The consultation period extended to November to allow time for voluntary groups to respond. The Department is now working with an expert group to distil the many responses received and intends to publish its response in the spring.Additional resources will be made available to assist implementation of the final guidance.A key issue will be the relationship between local and specialist services and this will be addressed in the final response.