Rachel Lai, Deaf Services Queensland, patient Rachel Donnan, partner Craig Frazer and Townsville Hospital emergency department staff specialist Dr Ben Butson.
Rachel Lai, Deaf Services Queensland, patient Rachel Donnan, partner Craig Frazer and Townsville Hospital emergency department staff specialist Dr Ben Butson.

HOSPITALS: Deaf patients heard across state

HEARING-IMPAIRED patients presenting to Emergency Departments across Queensland will soon have access to the successful remote video Auslan interpreter program implemented at Townsville Hospital.

Deaf Services Queensland and the Department of Health's telemedicine support will collaborate are hoping to roll out the video remote interpreter service following positive feedback from a two-year trial at Townsville Hospital.

Deaf Services Queensland's Manager of Service Design and Growth, Rachel Lai, said the trial has now been confirmed as a permanent service available at Townsville Hospital.

"We've had quite a lot of success here so we're going to use this as the basis to model all the other ones.

"The next planned sight to be rolled out is up in Cairns, with views to expand it out further into regional locations and rural locations where we don't have any physical interpreters on site.

"We are looking to roll it out right across the state.

Townsville Hospital Emergency Physician Dr Ben Butson said the video interpreter generally saw patients connected with an interpreter within 20 minutes.

"We all know that our emergency departments are increasingly busy and if we can deliver our service quickly but effectively and tailor to patients that have special needs such as this then that's obviously important.



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