The Scottish Government has invested £2 million to implement a new strategy for sensory impairment – the first of its kind in the UK.
See Hear sets out seven recommendations for improving services for sensory impaired people in Scotland. It was put together following close consultation with a range of organisations including RNIB Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, COSLA and Deafblind Scotland.
More than one million people in Scotland experience either hearing loss or significant sight loss – nearly 20 per cent of the population.
Consultees stressed the importance of early diagnosis of sensory impairment, so the strategy recommends that basic sensory checks should be offered to people when they reach a certain age.
To reduce discrimination of people with sensory impairment, employers are advised to review their compliance with the 2010 Equalities Act.
Other recommendations include promoting increased awareness of sensory problems in training programmes, to make sure people do not miss out on professional qualifications.
Scottish Government funding will be given to local authorities and Falkirk Council will receive their share to implement the strategy through a local partnership network. The £2 million will be spread out between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Launching the new strategy today, Michael Matheson, Falkirk West MSP and Minister for Public Health, said:
“Nearly one in five people experience some form of sensory impairment, and we know that they can still face a number of barriers when it comes to playing a full role in society.
“We’re determined that everyone with a sensory impairment should have access to the best quality health services, with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment when they need it. We’re also committed to stamping out discrimination against anyone with a sensory impairment wherever it still exists.