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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?

Forgetfulmog Wed 23-Jan-13 15:06:44

Oh dear

<dons tin hat>

INeedThatForkOff Wed 23-Jan-13 15:08:49

I don't really think anyone can be made to learn English. How do you enforce it? How can it be measured? However I personally couldn't live in a non-English speaking country without attempting to learn the language, for my own sanity.

I don't think the NHS should be providing interpreters in these circumstances, FWIW. I suppose I think that the individual should make their own provision.

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 15:10:38

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

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 23-Jan-13 15:10:40

So you think healthcare should be dependent on language ability rather than need. YABU

In the country I live in everyone is entitled to an interpreter when dealing with any state organisation, be that the health service, the council, the school, the job centre etc if they need it. It is considered an unquestionable, basic human right. A country has to meet the needs of all people who live there, not just those with a particular set of skills.

Flisspaps Wed 23-Jan-13 15:10:47


SecondhandRose Wed 23-Jan-13 15:12:17

Can we get ask the nurses to speak English too then?

INeedThatForkOff Wed 23-Jan-13 15:12:42

Ps I think my second paragraph was a bit stupid in hindsight. Ignore.

theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:12:43

why don the tin hat? :-/

I am not really asking that they learn to speak English as such but more that they don't take the said hospital to Court & suing for damages as said hospital doesn't provide them with a full time interpreter. I feel that they should bring someone with them that can speak both languages. I would never dream of living in a Country I couldn't speak the lingo & then to have the audacity to sue them this beggers belief.

theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:15:22

ok, appears that I am in the wrong - roll on the NHS providing full time interpreters for all languages at every hospital/clinic. This wont cost too much.

Forgetfulmog Wed 23-Jan-13 15:15:57

Is this a Daily Mail story by any chance?

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Jan-13 15:16:10

BTW - even if people can speak good levels of English, that doesnt mean that a) in a time of pain/sickness/stress they still will be able to and that b) that a 'good level' is good enough for detailed medical conversations.

Plus through out the EU you have a right to ask for an interpreter when dealing with government organisations for that country. Other countries aren't at great at doing this as we are, but if you say, got arrested in Portugal, you would have a right to be questioned with a qualified interpreter, and also have a right for any documents to be translated into English for you. (whether you'd get it in all EU states is a different matter....)

wewereherefirst Wed 23-Jan-13 15:17:17

Ahh, I feel sorry for the Spanish after years of ex pat brits move out there and refuse to speak Spanish.

How do you know they're not privately paying for NHS treatment?

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 15:18:39

Theebay, your post is hardly devised to be taken seriously.

We all know that the government does not have a policy of inviting immigrants over for benefits, in fact there are strict rules about how you can access benefits as an immigrant- it's not something they hand you at the border.

We can hardly believe that you are capable of looking at a lady in the maternity clinic waiting room and telling from the sight if her that her husband is absent because he is signing up rather than e.g. performing crucial work for the local council. Or did the ladies specifically petition for a service to be provided when their husbands are collecting benefits?

You are making this situation up.

Many, many of us will have been abroad at some time and needed medical attention for ourselves. Many would probably expect to be able to make themselves understood in English.

Unspotted pregnancy complications are likely to cost the system very heavily, in terms of dying or permanently disabled mothers, and dead or permanently disabled children. If we don't want to pay that further down the line, it makes good sense to provide the most accessible pregnancy care we can.

skullcandy Wed 23-Jan-13 15:19:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Yakshemash Wed 23-Jan-13 15:20:53

<cough> beggars <cough>

HecateWhoopass Wed 23-Jan-13 15:21:18

Yes. People who need care but who have problems communicating should be entitled to an interpreter. Particularly something as important as healthcare. It is vital to have a clear understanding of what medical advice is being given to you.

Or do you mean they should pay for one themselves?

What about deaf people? Should they pay for their own interpreters? What about people with disabilities that mean they need a support worker to explain things to them in a way they can understand? Should they pay for them themselves?

I have no problem paying a little more tax in order to ensure that people are clearly communicated with. I think it's not a lot to ask that someone understands what's happening to them medically.

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 23-Jan-13 15:21:18

They don't have to provide interpreters for all languages at every hospital/clinic. Don't be such a drama llama. They just need to provide access to interpreters which can easily be done over the phone. I've been at hospital appointments with an interpreter present, an interpreter on conference call and even where the doctor has rung the interpretation service just to check the meaning of one word.

theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:21:21

aha I didn't realise this. Then surely if you cannot speak English you should request an interpreter in advance rather than turning up for your appointment, phoning a friend and demanding that one is provided there and then? I suppose as this town (I live in a village 15 mins away) is mainly populated by Polish than they should provide a full time member of staff. I am just amazed that a group of people are suing the NHS for damages as the MW's were not able to understand them. I hold my head in shame to have even had these thoughts.

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 15:22:25

Well, skullcancy, if the clinic is simply turning these mothers away and refusing to examine them, then they are clearly not exploring the most effective ways of doing this. Sounds like they can't be arsed.

fromparistoberlin Wed 23-Jan-13 15:23:20

you hate Polish people

lets just deal with the facts here and stop going on about translaters


KoalaTale Wed 23-Jan-13 15:23:38

Yanbu, but this has been going on for years with anyone who doesn't speak English. I've a friend who's an NHS receptionist - non English speakers get given an interpreter at NHS expense, costs a fortune!!!

It's a disgrace.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 23-Jan-13 15:23:43

Where is this town? Is there a link to a news story about this court case?

mrlazysfishwife Wed 23-Jan-13 15:23:56

I work in the NHS and i get really annoyed at the reluctance to use interpreters. Management expectation (as they have to sign off the request) is that family can do it. This is often highly inappropriate. We are a civilsed country and should treat people with respect, how we'd like to be treated as we would be elsewhere.

The women sueing are right, as it is their right to have full access to NHS care, the MW's can't just unilaterally refuse to treat them.

As others have said, we have the same rights throughout the EU (we can claim benefits in Poland should we want to).

OP your comments about benefit day have done you no favours at all and your post just comes across as xenophobic I'm afraid.

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 15:24:31

theebayqueen, are you sure that the local press are really giving an unbiased idea of what has been happening here? if what you say is correct, then the clinic have actually been acting in a very unprofessional manner and are probably anxious to cover their backs; there may be more to this story than meets the eye.

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