‘The NHS can’t employ me,’ says deaf carer with ‘crushed’ dream

A deaf healthcare assistant who spent 12 months waiting to start work at Macclesfield Hospital says his dreams have been ‘crushed’.

Adam Rea, 30, was offered and accepted the job in February last year and had to undergo four days of mandatory training before he could start.

He has completed two, but says the other two have not yet taken place because East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has not provided a sign language interpreter.

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The training should be done in a few months, Adam says, and after growing tired of waiting, he told the trust he no longer wanted the job and filed a formal complaint.

Adam said: “I was so excited about the job and couldn’t wait to get started, I’m a very caring person and always wanted to start a career in nursing.

“My goal was to work as a nurse’s aide in order to complete nursing training.

“Those dreams have now been shattered

“The lack of disability awareness is shameful.

“There has been no understanding towards me and I feel like I’m being treated like I’m thick.

“They failed to make reasonable adjustments for me which I have every right to ask for and when I questioned their lack of provision they swept it under the rug.

“This experience was extremely painful.”

Wearing the face mask is also an issue that caused problems for Adam.

Lip-reading is an important form of communication, but he says colleagues who suggested he briefly remove their mask to talk to him drew backlash – even when he said he was happy to wear a visor and to stand 2 m.

Adam, who lives in Congleton, said: “Because of this issue, I was told that working there would not be appropriate, which massively discriminates against my disability.

“The frustration of constantly having to explain to myself and why I need someone to face me and speak clearly or why I need an interpreter is indescribable.

“Having to educate the deaf these days, especially the NHS trust, is simply shocking and they should be ashamed.”

Adam has been left anxious and depressed and says he is ‘stuck at a crossroads’ as after 12 months without income he is relying on benefits.

He is currently looking for a job but is struggling to find something suitable given his disability.

In 2021, East Cheshire NHS Trust received further accreditation as a confident leader in disability.

A spokesperson for East Cheshire NHS Trust said: “We are unable to provide comment on individual cases, but the trust has an open and supportive culture if a member of staff raises concerns.”

About Antoine L. Cassell

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