British Sign Language Bill

26 January 2022
1 min read

Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire, is introducing the British Sign Language (BSL) Bill to parliament, and on January 28, it will be debated for the first time. In an article for The Big Issue, Rosie explained, “My Bill will declare BSL as an official language and create the requirement for the Secretary of State to issue guidance to all government departments on how they should accommodate the use of BSL in each of their responsibilities.”

“This guidance will be created in direct consultation with deaf BSL users to ensure it truly reflects the needs of the deaf community. Since I first presented this Bill in Parliament in June 2021, the understanding and appreciation of BSL has exploded thanks to Rose [Ayling-Ellis, Eastenders actress who competed in the 2021 series of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing]. She proved that deaf people really can do anything, even the seemingly impossible such as winning Strictly when you can’t hear the music.”

Rosie discussed the Bill further in an interview on BBC News, where she explained that she wants more official and government use of sign language – with medical scenarios being a key focus; Rosie recalled giving her father his terminal cancer diagnosis as a child.

She also explained that for death people and those who are hard of hearing, the pandemic, and subsequent mask wearing, means “life becomes impossible”, with people no longer able to rely on lip reading.

Therefore, the BSL Bill could potentially have a significant impact on the dental industry and the way care is provided.