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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?

herladyship Wed 23-Jan-13 16:08:06

Telephone interpreters are multinational companies & hundreds of languages are available at the touch of a button! I've spoken to people via phone interpreter in languages I'd never heard of!

Also had a face to face interpreter for a polish gentleman who needed arm amputation after an accident.. Not everything is appropriate over phone hmm

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 16:08:21

Using children as interpreters is not good at all.

It may have been done in years gone by.

We know better now, surely?

I really hope you never ended up in a hospital in Europe, or anywhere else in the world. It happens to naice people you know. When you are on work trips or travelling.

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 16:10:05

We're not gonna get the link to the newspaper story about the 'suing for damages' are we?

Can't imagine why not.

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 16:11:29

Toddler, OP will simply go to the local 'bilingual hospital' she is insured for.

There's one of those on every street corner in the world, you know.


EauRouge Wed 23-Jan-13 16:11:58

Tiktok ah yes, Warsaw would make sense grin

I live in E Anglia in an area with a very high population of Eastern Europeans but there is NO WAY that any towns around here are close to 47%. I think it's around 10% E European in some places but that's it. Also all of Eastern Europe is not Poland, there are lots of Lithuanians, Estonians, Latvians, Ukrainians etc.

znaika Wed 23-Jan-13 16:12:50

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

GailTheGoldfish Wed 23-Jan-13 16:13:07

Znaika PCTs usually have contracts with interpreting agencies to supply interpreters as required. not sure about the telephone services but would assume interpreters are booked to be available on the phone during the appointment time.

ginmakesitallok Wed 23-Jan-13 16:13:46

Znaika, we have a contract with a national company which provides telephone interpreting at a set rate. For common languages we can book interpreters in advance for appointments.

x2boys Wed 23-Jan-13 16:13:51

before people start throwing out racist /troll comments has anybody any idea just how much debt the nhs is in as a front line worker i can tell you people are being redundant jobs are being cut as are servicse [ long before the coalition by the way ] interpreters are just another expanse the nhs does not need it will be privatised soon its already starting in foundation trusts

whiteflame Wed 23-Jan-13 16:14:36

Well, I have just recently had my first doctor's appointment in my second language. I can speak the language passably, but after the experience I can tell you that it is damn hard and you need really good language skills to get things right. And it's not really the place where you want to test out to see if you've got it right, is it?

So while I think people should make an effort to learn the local language, health care is a place where I would think some allowances can be made.

t0lk13n Wed 23-Jan-13 16:15:16

I am not saying it is a good thing but one of necessity for the patient. If you watch Sea Sun and A&E - In the height of the summer season hospitals on the Balearic islands have English interpreters.

znaika Wed 23-Jan-13 16:17:36

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DeafLeopard Wed 23-Jan-13 16:21:04

I would rather NHS money be spent on translation services so that people can access health care than £750k on art

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 16:21:55

znaika - you're not understanding me. The OP said that she always insured herself to be treated at a 'bilingual hospital'...which are not everywhere. Her point was that somehow non-English speakers coming here should do the same. If 'bilingual hospitals' speaking English are not everywhere, I seriously doubt any Eastern European migrant would be able to insure for treatment at a hospital which spoke Latvian/Lithuanian/Polish/Estonian etc etc.

Renniehorta Wed 23-Jan-13 16:21:56

There is another slant to this. My son is an NHS dental patient at a surgery in a city very near to Lincolnshire but not in it. This surgery only offers an NHS dental service by employing a series of Polish dentists. They have a bilingual English/Polish dental nurse to facilitate communications between dentist and patients.

Nancy66 Wed 23-Jan-13 16:23:17

there are English interpreters at all those clap clinics in Magaluf and Kavos.

Renniehorta yes, my NHS dentists are all polish (or eastern europeans) grin. All the british dentists are private, charging golf course prices. I go to a private myself and he works very reduced hours, 4 days a week.

Emsmaman Wed 23-Jan-13 16:28:41

Not going to get dragged into the debate but I have wondered about this ever since I went for blood tests whilst pregnant and was in the room at the same time as a non english speaker. We were meant to bring a bottle of lucozade with us, and not have eaten for x hours beforehand. As the woman in question did not bring lucozade with her I did wonder if she had also understood that she was not meant eat beforehand. Two issues here: the test could have easily come out wrong if she had eaten, and secondly the staff had to scrabble around for a bottle of lucozade to give her whilst the rest of us had brought in our own.

Wonder if there are English interpreters in China. A colleague was posted in Beijing for 3 months. Supposedly there was hardly any English. Even the canteen menu is completely in Chinese.

I've been to Korea for work and ordered food only knowing it's got chicken or beef in them. Luckily I didn't end up at a hospital! I worked for a university as a research fellow. We were told we'll get biligual hospitals if we ended up in trouble.

I mean we weren't told there are bilingual hospitals.

Quite simply it is the role of the country to meet the needs of its people - that includes immigrants from other countries who are allowed to be here - you can go and live in Poland too you know.

You are racist OP - what's depressing is that you don't realise it.

znaika Wed 23-Jan-13 16:40:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 23-Jan-13 16:42:33

Still no sign of the link then - quelle surprise! Oops, probably shouldn't say that, might offend the OP's delicate sensibilities to read another language on a British website.

Sam100 Wed 23-Jan-13 16:46:46

I studied in Germany and as a student there you are put on Germany's "free" healthcare system which is called the AOK. I had to visit the doctor a few times and my German was ok but not really competent to deal with medical issues (I was studying business!). Not offered a translator nor would i have expected one. We got by with a dictionary, pointing and pictures!!! I do think that people should be expected to communicate in the language of the host country and if they cannot then they should bring someone who can translate for them with them.

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