A Nottingham MP has praised government plans to require public services to provide sign-language interpreters.
Hearing impaired people often rely on friends or family when dealing with the NHS or other organisations.
But under new plans going through parliament public bodies will need to employ full-time British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.
Private companies will also be encouraged to take-on BSL signers.
This comes after deaf Strictly Come Dancing winner, Rose Ayling-Ellis, said she wants privacy during GP appointments.
The legislation would also lead to an annual report from the Department for Work and Pensions on Government departments’ use of BSL interpreters.
Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South, said: “At the start of the pandemic, there was a failure to provide proper access to public health information for BSL users.
“For years there has been no one to interpret for them during their education and when they attend hospital appointments.”
During the pandemic, England was the only home nation not to use British Sign Language interpreters during their broadcasts.
“I hope the Government match their promising rhetoric with action and will be paying close attention when the first report in produced in a couple of years,” the Labour MP added.
“Deaf people have been campaigning for recognition for 19 years and are often excluded by society and can’t fulfil their potential.”
Alison Green, a BSL interpreter from Nottingham, said: “The deaf community often bear the costs themselves, and it’s unacceptable they have to rely on their families.
“Hopefully it will make services, such as the NHS, see their responsibility to put information into an accessible format by employing interpreters.
“It’s just basic that deaf people should have access to health advice and doctors.”
The proposed new law is contained a bill which passed its second reading in the House of Commons on January 28.
Alison explained how the deaf community feel they should be treated equally.
She added: “Deaf people view themselves as a linguistic minority, not disabled.
“There’s a fundamental idea that the communication they use is a very rich and full language.
“There’s also concern for deaf prisoners where they have absolutely no capacity for communication.
“Some might say they deserve it, but they have a human right to communicate during their daily lives.”
Anne Darby is a deaf member of the Nottingham Deaf Society.
She said: “If the BSL Bill passes and becomes the BSL Act, it will put more pressure on the government to consider the needs of the BSL-using deaf community.
“For example, to provide visible BSL interpreters for important government briefings and raise awareness throughout government departments.
“The Department for Work and Pensions, who are responsible for employment, have a poor record with disabled employees and ‘customers’ both nationally and locally.
Anne added that Nottinghamshire services were ahead of other areas but could still be improved.
She said: “Most of Nottingham’s statutory services (and some non-statutory services such as theatres) make sure that BSL interpreters are available.
“This is not the case nationally.
“Under the new law, I would expect levels of services elsewhere to meet those provided here.
“Nottingham services need to continue to develop and exceed the provision elsewhere, and those services locally who currently do not understand and meet the needs of members of the deaf community should become aware of deaf people’s rights to equal treatment.
“Rose Ayling-Ellis’s recent success on Strictly Come Dancing improved the understanding of individuals and service providers of the communication difficulties experienced by deaf and hard of hearing people.”