SignHealth appoints first Medical Director4th January 2013
Doctor Andrew Alexander from Bath has recently been appointed as the first Medical Director for the national charity SignHealth.
In his new role, which starts this month (January 15, 2013), Andrew will be responsible for reinforcing SignHealth’s role as the healthcare charity for Deaf* people.
Steve Powell, Chief Executive at SignHealth, said: "We are delighted to have appointed Andrew as our first Medical Director.
"He has helped SignHealth in the past and has already made an invaluable contribution to our work. He assisted with the application for funding from the Big Lottery for our major health research project.
"Andrew has a Deaf daughter and uses British Sign Language (BSL), so he will be a great asset to have here at SignHealth. We’re looking forward to working with him going forward."
Andrew's interest in working to improve the healthcare of Deaf people stems from having a Deaf daughter, as well as working as a doctor for the past 29 years. For the past 17 years he has been a Consultant Physician at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.
He said: "I have worked with the team at SignHealth for many years. I admire their work and their campaigning to improve healthcare for Deaf people. I'm greatly looking forward to joining the charity as Medical Director."
Andrew will initially concentrate on setting up a Deaf Commissioning Support Network with the aim of influencing commissioners of healthcare to include Deaf people in their planning.
He will also work to establish links with medical organisations and continue to be involved in research into the health of Deaf people.
He added: "It is essential that the barriers faced by Deaf people at all stages of the healthcare process are fully recognised by all commissioners and providers of healthcare. Equal access for Deaf people should be specifically considered for all health services and by all healthcare staff."
Andrew was commissioned by The Lancet to write an article on the healthcare of Deaf people, which he co-wrote with Dr Paddy Ladd from Bristol University Centre for Deaf Studies and Steve Powell. The article was published in March, 2012.
He was also invited to speak on the healthcare of Deaf people at last year’s (2012) British Society for Mental Health and Deafness annual conference.
In his spare time, Andrew enjoys spending time with his family, walking and travelling.
SignHealth is the only UK charity focused on improving the mental and physical health of Deaf people and campaigning for improved access and communication within the healthcare setting.
The charity provides a range of services for Deaf people, including supported living, advocacy, outreach, psychological therapy and health promotion, all within a British Sign Language (BSL) supported environment.
To find out more about SignHealth, which has its headquarters at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, please call 01494 687600 or visit the website www.signhealth.org.uk.
Alternatively, please follow the charity on Twitter at www.twitter.com/signhealth or log on to www.facebook.com/signhealth.
*It is the convention adopted within the Deaf community of using an upper case D when referring to those who identify themselves culturally and linguistically as members of the Deaf community. Typically they are prelingually Deaf and use BSL as their first language.
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