Friday, 27 February 2015

Slovenian man demands 591 pages of court documents be translated - at cost of £23,000 
27 February 2015

Slovenian man demands 591 pages of court documents be translated - at cost of £23,000
Britain’s top family judge has rejected a Slovenian man’s demands that hundreds of court documents be translated into his language – at a cost of £23,000 to British taxpayers.
The father, who lives in the Midlands, but cannot be named for legal reasons, is locked in a legal row with a British council over his young daughter’s care, wanted 600 pages of text translated into his mother tongue.
Otherwise, he argued, he “could not participate” in a court dispute with crucial implications for his family life.
His lawyers argued that the £38-a-page translation cost should be shouldered by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA).
But Sir James Munby, President of the High Court Family Division, blasted the “striking” request and ruled that less than 10 per cent of the documents needed translation.
The judge made a “plea for restraint in the expenditure of public funds”, saying the amount of taxpayers’ cash available is “limited” and must be “husbanded properly”.
He added: “It is no good complaining that public funds are available only for X and not for Y if money available for X is being squandered.
“Money should only be spent on what is ‘necessary’ to enable the court to deal with proceedings ‘justly’.”
Sir James said the Slovenian resident, referred to as “K”, is embroiled in care proceedings with Warwickshire County Council over the future of his eight-year-old daughter.
K does not speak English but does have the benefit of a solicitor who speaks Slovenian.
It was agreed that some of the documents needed translation - at a cost of just over 10p a word.
But the LAA’s eyebrows were raised when K’s lawyers requested that 591 pages be translated - at a total cost to the public purse of £23,000.
The agency rejected the request, last December, saying: “It is accepted that if the client cannot speak or read English he does need to understand the evidence.
“However, it is very unlikely indeed that he will actually [need] to read such a large volume of the documentation”.
The case was referred to Sir James, who criticised the lawyers involved for submitting a bundle of legal documents which was two-and-a-half times the size of usual judicial limits.
He said there was “absolutely no excuse” for being unfamiliar with directions limiting the size of files submitted in family cases.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Man classed high suicide risk kills himself after being discharged twice by hospital 
February 25, 2015

Man classed high suicide risk kills himself after being discharged twice by hospital
A man who believed he was possessed by the devil killed himself after being discharged from hospital twice in 24 hours.
Simion Costin suffered hallucinations, and was initially assessed by staff in the emergency department at Leicester Royal Infirmary as a high suicide risk, an inquest heard. But language problems and mislaid notes meant the two psychiatrists who saw him did not get a full picture of his mental state.
Mr Costin was not admitted nor given any medicine to control his condition. Instead, he was encouraged to register with a GP and sent home. But within three days, he had killed himself.
Mr Costin, who was Romanian, was working in a car wash in Wigston. His friend, Ionut Budu, who also worked at the car wash, told the inquest Mr Costin was well-liked, but began acting oddly in the first few weeks of 2014. Then in March, the situation got worse.
“He thought he was the devil and people he came into contact with were going to die,” said Mr Budu, speaking through an interpreter. “He also said there was something inside him, an insect or something. “He also said he wanted to kill himself.”
Mr Budu and workmates were so alarmed they took him to Glenfield Hospital, and later to Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI). An initial assessment carried out by emergency department staff, with the help of a Romanian doctor, said Mr Costin was a high suicide risk. The inquest heard that Mr Costin had made an attempt on his life by jumping out a second floor window in Romania nine years earlier. His case was handed over to the Leicestershire Partnership Trust for a full mental health assessment, but there was no Romanian interpreter available. Five hours later, Dr Rafizul Islam carried out a two-hour assessment with the help of Mr Budu, and a security guard who spoke Italian. Mr Budu said Mr Costin could speak a little Italian having worked in Italy. But Dr Islam, who did not see the initial assessment, assessed that Mr Costin was not a risk to himself, and discharged him with a leaflet about registering with a GP.
The following afternoon Mr Costin had to be restrained by workmates after he started screaming. Police and ambulance were called and he was taken to the emergency department at LRI. It was not until 10.15pm, after a interpreter had been contacted, that he was seen by trainee psychiatrist Dr Christina Evans. However, Dr Evans had no notes to refer to as they had been “mislaid”. She assessed Mr Costin as suffering from a depressive condition. He had told her that he was returning to Romania in the next couple of days to be with his wife and daughter whom he missed deeply. She told the hearing: “I felt that going back to Romania was a better option than admission or medication.” But she admitted she had made her decision on insufficient information.
Mr Budu said Mr Costin had no travel plans arranged. He added that Mr Costin’s were so worried he would kill himself they hid all the knives in their shared house, and wanted him to be admitted to hospital. “They did not admit him,” he said. “They also did not give him anything to calm him down.”
Three days later, on March 25, Mr Budu found Mr Costin on his bedroom floor. He had cut his throat, and could not be revived. Coroner Catherine Mason asked Mr Budu: “Do you think the hospital failed to take your friend’s condition seriously?” He replied: “Yes I do.” Mrs Mason said it was clear Mr Costin was unwell. She praised his friends for doing all they could to keep him safe. In conclusion, Mrs Mason said: “Mr Costin took his own life while his mind was in a state of imbalance.”
Dr Mohammed Al-Uzri, clinical director of adult mental health and learning disability services at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), told the hearing that an investigation had taken place following Mr Costin’s death. He said standardised assessment documents had been rolled out across the trust to avoid confusion in the future. Assessment notes were now logged digitally so they would not be “mislaid” in the future, he said. Procedures now emphasised the need to speak to friends and relatives to obtain background information, said Dr Al-Uzri. He told the hearing that the trust’s policy was to employ professional interpreters.
Coroner Catherine Mason said she was pleased the LPT had made changes after Mr Costin’s death.
In a statement after the inquest, Dr Al-Uzri said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Mr Costin and our sympathy goes to his family.
“Following his death, we carried out a detailed review of Mr Costin’s care.
“Our investigation identified ways we could improve the way relevant information about the patient is taken, recorded and acted on in the future – and we welcome the coroner’s comments that she is pleased to see the changes that have been introduced.
He added: “The Trust is also extending its nurse-led assessment and triage service at LRI to provide 24-hour cover.”
Mrs Mason said she would write to NHS England for them to consider rolling out a standardised assessment document.
She is also going to contact University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to urge it to adhere to a policy of employing professional interpreters and not rely on staff members filling in.
A spokesperson for Leicester’s hospitals said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Costin’s family and friends for their sudden and tragic loss.
“We absolutely recognise the importance of an accessible and prompt translation service and would like to assure visitors to Leicester’s Hospitals that we take this very seriously. Upon receiving the coroner’s letter we will address the concerns raised as a matter of urgency.”

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Islington doctors slammed after only one GP offers translation services across the borough
21 February 2015

Islington doctors slammed after only one GP offers translation services across the borough
Doctors’ surgeries have been criticised after only one in the whole borough offered translation services in an undercover sting.
In a study by Healthwatch Islington, volunteers went to all 36 GP surgeries pretending to be new patients who did not speak English.
Just one - St Peter’s Street Medical Practice, in Islington - offered an interpreter.
The rest had no help at all, and 19 told them to come back with a friend or relative who could speak English.
The watchdog said they have received reports from community groups saying support isn’t provided once registered.
A spokesman for the IMECE Women’s Centre, which works with Turkish, Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot women who are often refugees, said: “This is a huge issue for our community and for women in particular, especially in domestic violence cases where the husband and the husband’s family can control the domestic violence survivor through the interpreting.
“GPs are a very important contact for women, so it is important to ensure that women are able to speak directly to this health professional.”
Gill Tan of the Islington Chinese Association said: “Our clients are told to bring a friend or relative to interpret for them at the doctor’s.
“Their sons and daughters find it difficult to take time off work to accompany and interpret for them. Our clients feel like a burden, so they don’t ask their children, they suffer in silence.”
Emma Whitby of Healthwatch Islington said: “Interpreting services are available to all GP practices in the borough, at no cost to individual practices. Face to face interpreting needs to be booked in advance, but telephone interpreting is available more or less immediately. We’d like to see all practices use these services whenever there is a need.”

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Making sense of translation

18 February 2015
Making sense of translation
Looking at the raw figures for money spent on translation services in Sheffield over three years, the cost looks significant.
However, before we cry foul it is worth breaking down the numbers.
The figures show more than £555,000 was spent by the authority on face-to-face and telephone interpretation. Documents were also translated into 44 different languages between 2011 and 2014, at a cost of more than £131,785.
Face-to-face and telephone calls, which make up the vast majority of the total expenditure, all require paying for someone’s time. Experts by their very nature are expensive but should be used so the job gets done right first time.
There will be many that say the money could be spent on other things. True, it could.
But Sheffield is a large multicultural city and these sort of services are necessary.
Of course, newcomers to Sheffield, and the country in general, should be encouraged to learn the language as quickly as possible. Not only does it speed up a sense of belonging but it also helps with day-to-day matters.
The question of translation services can be used as a political football.
Costs must always be kept to a minimum but the job still needs to be done.