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Complaint to the BBC

22 November 2013

This is a letter of complaint (see below) that has been sent to the BBC from the campaigning group “Our health in your hands”. The aim of this group is to campaign for better access to health services such as doctors and hospitals via the use of qualified interpreters. Members of this group include the BDA, the British Association of Mental Health and Deafness, ASLI, Signature, Action on Hearing Loss and the NRCPD. This group sent a letter of complaint about an episode of “Holby City” shown recently.

Whilst it was great to see a deaf character having a central role in this acclaimed drama show, the use of the man’s daughter as an interpreter created a problem for us. The information that the girl was required to interpret centred on her father’s need for a heart operation. We wish to express our concern that the staff portrayed in the programme accepted the use of the man’s daughter to interpret confidential, sensitive medical information without question. We were shocked that the programme showed this happening as this is a very risky and dangerous thing to do in reality.

We feel strongly that the programme would have shown a stronger resolution through using a qualified Interpreter to undertake this role and to provide accurate information to the father. Together we feel that such a portrayal was retrogressive and we are disappointed that this happened throughout the programme without challenge.. We feel that understanding of this area needs to move on in line with our respective campaigning.

Our letter acknowledges that it is good of the BBC to include such characters and we applaud this however the BBC needs to remember that it is providing information to the public who may be guided by this. We would be delighted to meet the BBC to discuss this and we feel it would be positive if the Deaf community would be more involved in programmes like this to ensure the correct message is sent.

Click here to view the letter of complaint to the BBC.