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Relay UK

Relay UK is a free service to help deaf people and those who have hearing loss or are speech impaired to communicate over the phone.

It has replaced the NGT (Next Generation Text) and the old Text Relay service. It uses a live relay assistant to help you communicate.

What Relay UK is

If you are deaf, have hearing loss or are speech impaired, Relay UK can connect you to a relay assistant to make a phone call. The relay assistant can:

  • type what the caller is saying so you can read their responses, if you can’t hear
  • read your written responses to the caller, if you can’t speak.

It’s free to use the Relay UK service. You will only pay your normal charges for any calls you make. Check with your phone provider for more details.

Because Relay UK is a regulated service, it’s possible to use it for arranging GP and hospital appointments over the phone.

How Relay UK works

Using the Relay UK app

You can now use the service through an app on your smartphone or tablet. Once you have downloaded it, you will need to link your number to it and tell the app how you would like to use the service. 

Find out more about Relay UK and download the app.

With a textphone

A textphone is a type of landline phone that has a keyboard and display screen. You type what you would like to say and can read the reply on the display screen. You can use a textphone to have a phone call using a relay assistant.

Due to the introduction of new technology, such as the Relay UK app, textphones are no longer in production in the UK and can only be bought second-hand.

Find out more about using textphones with Relay UK.

How to contact 999 using Relay UK

If you want to make an emergency call with Relay UK, you need to dial 18000 instead of the normal 18001 through the Relay UK app or from a textphone. Find out more about calling 999 through Relay UK.

You can also contact the emergency services through text using emergencySMS. You must register your phone before you can send a text message to 999 using the emergencySMS service. Text the word ‘register’ to 999. You’ll need to register again if you change your phone number. Find out more about emergencySMS and how to use it on the Relay UK website.

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Page last updated: 18 August 2022

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