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Brought to you by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora – Southern and WellSouth primary health network

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NZ sign language & resources for the Deaf community

Common FAQs for the Deaf community & New Zealand Sign Language

Can I request an NZSL interpreter at my appointment?

Yes, you are entitled to a NZSL interpreter at your appointment. Though, sometimes it can be difficult to find interpreters, especially at short notice.

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora - Southern is currently exploring the option of Video Interpreting Service (VIS) as an option when face-to-face sign interpreters are not available.

You are also entitled to a NZSL interpreter if you are not the patient, but your partner, child or whānau is the patient and you need to know what’s going on.

Who is responsible for booking the interpreter?

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora - Southern is responsible for booking NZSL interpreters. Interpreting services are coordinated through the Patient Affairs office and the Duty manager outside of regular working hours.

Can I get a NZSL interpreter after-hours in an emergency?

Yes,Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora - Southern works with multiple sign language interpreters to ensure that a sign interpreter is almost always available when required.

Can I request a particular interpreter?

Yes, let the staff member making the booking know which interpreter you want. We always do our best to coordinate preferred interpreters for our patients. When we are not able to book a particular interpreter, we organise a suitable alternative.

Who can I contact if I feel the hospital worker doesn’t understand Deaf culture?