AN Oxfordshire patient watchdog has given more than £9,000 for two health and social care projects in the county.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire has given £3,550.80 to a new company set up to work with deaf people called Sign Lingual UK, and £5,590 to Oxford disability charity My Life My Choice.

Antoinette Oliver, director of Sign Lingual, said: “Oxfordshire has a large deaf community whose first and preferred language is British Sign Language (BSL).

“Often we find that deaf people are unaware of medical issues that are common knowledge amongst the hearing community.

“Sign Lingual will use the grant to find out more about the underlying communication issues confronting deaf people that use local health and social care services.

“We will work with this particular community, as well as Healthwatch Oxfordshire and the providers of these local services to come up with ideas for improvements.”

Bryan Michell, My Life My Choice co-ordinator, said: “Our charity will be co-ordinating focus groups asking for people’s views about their health experience at their local GP surgery.”

Applications for Healthwatch Oxfordshire’s 2014 to 2015 applications are now open. Go to healtwatch or call 01865 520520.