Advanced search

to think if you want NHS care you should learn English or have an interpreter?

(189 Posts)
theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:03:55

My local town is now populated by 47% Polish - no problems as according to the figures 21% work so presumably speak English. I have to attend my local centre to see my Consultant and for scans. However, everytime I have been the centre is full of Polish woman who do not speak a word of English and expect the NHS to provide an interpreter. Thursday clinics are the worst as this is when the men have to attend the Job Centre to get "paid" so the ladies are left to fend for themselves. The men seem to be able to speak more English than the woman.

At first they were turned away as the MW's were unable to do their jobs properly but these ladies have filed a law suit against the clinic stating it is their human right to have NHS care as they are on the benefit system and that the NHS should provide full time interpreters for them.

If they win, does this not open up another can of worms that every person that can't speak English and on the benefit system is entitled to on demand interpreters?! This would then be another huge cost to the NHS.

I am in no way racist and if the UK wants to encourage people over here for benefits then so be it but when does the free stuff stop?! Should people not learn to speak English if they want to claim on the benefit system?

theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:25:41

no, they are not requesting telephone support - they want a interpreter to be at the clinic full time so that they can have face to face interpretation. but then what happens at the hospital when they give birth?

I agree telephone interpreters should be provided free of charge but how much is a salaried interepreter say 6/7 days a week all year going to cost the NHS? Maybe they should emplyo multilingual MW's?!

Not looking to row but a solution.

PictureMeInThese Wed 23-Jan-13 15:26:19

Were you on QuestionTime last week?

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 23-Jan-13 15:27:17

I think being refused treatment is very harsh but so is suing. I can see why people would be reluctant to issue prescriptions though as it must be difficult to ensure that it's the right medicine or that it won't react with other medication.

I don't think it's rocket science to have the sense to bring someone along who can explain/translate. After all y would anyone want to wait around for hours waiting for an on call translator who could be tied up for hours with other cases, to get back to them.

Surely everyone wants the same thing. To be treated or to be able to treat the patiend confident that all had been understood?

MamaMary Wed 23-Jan-13 15:27:31

So does the Spanish healthcare system provide interpreters for ex-pats?

I think it's up the ex-pats to either learn the language or fund their own interpreter until they do. This does not in any way make me racist or xenophobic. When I lived abroad, I learned the language. Before I was proficient, I would have brought a friend or someone to interpret for me in these circumstances.

skullcandy Wed 23-Jan-13 15:27:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ParsingFancy Wed 23-Jan-13 15:29:08

"this is when the men have to attend the Job Centre to get "paid" so the ladies are left to fend for themselves."

What, they all have the same signing on day? And unemployed men need to sign on, but women don't?


tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 15:30:35

Can we have a link to the story about women 'suing the NHS for damages' or 'filing a law suit' because there is no full-time interpreter?

No linky, no

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Jan-13 15:30:51

Re bringing someone with them, very few people below post grad level have the language skills to do detailed medical conversations, before things like the national register of public service interpreters were set up, there were several cases of medicial mistakes due to language mix ups

Hammy02 Wed 23-Jan-13 15:31:17

YANBU. My mum used to work in a hospital and said often patients asked for specific translators. There was some sort of racket going on.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 23-Jan-13 15:31:44

tiktok grin I'm still waiting for that too

MrMeaner Wed 23-Jan-13 15:32:09

Admittedly I've been out of the UK for a while myself now, but there's really a town with 47% only Polish people living in it?
Could you link?

Guiltypleasures001 Wed 23-Jan-13 15:33:59

Our local mental health trust spends 10K a month on interpreters.

MrMeaner Wed 23-Jan-13 15:35:08

Oh... and in Austria where I lived for 6 years, all medical info is available in English, Turkish and many Balkan languages, as well as German.

theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:35:51

totally agree, expats should learn Spanish. why should we expect them to learn English?! If I go abroad, I take out adequote medial cover to ensure that I will be treated by an English speaking hospital - would never dream of demanding an interpreter. I am not talking about a specific Country - all Countries should request a level of understanding of their language and/or accept a telephone interpreter. I am not a racist and would be agreeing if someone in Spain/Poland/anywhere in the UK posted that English go over there demanding face to face interpreters. The MW's/sonographers are obviously reluctant to treat these ladies as how do they explain if something is wrong? It is not for the staff to deal with this but for the NHS to do something.

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Jan-13 15:36:46

oooh, I remember reading about a case (although can't remember details or find it now) when someone sued... because a hospital used an unqualified translator (just a member of staff who said they spoke the language) to translate some documents sent from a paitent's home country, they mixed up the left and the right kidney IIRC. That did not end well... (although written translation is rather different skill from oral interpreting)

theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:37:00

It is in the local paper - just need to heat up my scanner & download - give me 10 minutes if ok? :-)

HopAndSkip Wed 23-Jan-13 15:37:42

Oh, equally if we go on holiday and want emergency treatment, we'd better quickly learn the language or suffer away quietly while we phone around to find ourselves an interpreter? As if I need to mention it, but YABVU

Boomerwang Wed 23-Jan-13 15:38:33

I think if the funds for an interpreter came out of a different pot you wouldn't be quite so miffed.

Even if the NHS received less funding because of it.

herladyship Wed 23-Jan-13 15:40:28

Every NHS trust I've worked for has had a clear policy..

Family/friends/staff should not be used as interpreters

Phone services (language line, pearl linguistics) are used to communicate with patients

Patient indicates their language on a sheet, there are 2 handsets, you plug them in & put in code

Very simple, available 24hrs, can be used in hospital or community

theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:40:41

hopandskip - do you not take out adequote medical insurance when you go on holiday to receive treatment in a bilingual hospital? seriously? first thing I do when booking a holiday - my health comes first.

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 15:41:23

Your local paper will be on the web, OP.

Just a link, is all smile

Then we can judge the veracity of the story.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 23-Jan-13 15:41:41

You don't need a scanner to post a link, just paste the url into a message and hit send.

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 23-Jan-13 15:42:06

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 15:42:14

'Bilingual hospital'???

ihatethecold Wed 23-Jan-13 15:43:04

I book interpreters for the health service/ social services/ police and I can tell
You all
That the budgets for these services has been massively cut recently.
Some doctors will employ a Lithuanian/polish/Russian interpreter to keep the costs down.
Some places only use telephone interpreting now. Which is much cheaper.

Some surgeries will have clinics on certain days to service a group of patients. The interpreter will be paid for a half day and those patients will be seen on that day. Makes sense all round.

Some communities have lived in England most of there life but never learn the language. E.g punjabi/ Urdu.
The women have always had the husband to interpret for them or they don't mix outside of their community. So they never learn the language.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now