29 May, 2015
Interpreters win NHS apology for pay ‘error’
National Health Service chiefs have launched an investigation and apologised for a “mistake” after a new privately-run booking service left interpreters struggling without pay for weeks.
The Central and North West London NHS Trust, which commissions the interpreting service in the borough, admitted an “error” with unprocessed time-sheets “should not have happened”.
Interpreters have told the West End Extra that they have been left “desperate for money” and unable to pay their rent and bills.
A spokesman for the NHS trust said: “CNWL apologises for this, we will pay people what they are owed. The mistake is being corrected and after our investigation there will be greater clarity around all the issues involved.”
Interpreters are hired by the NHS to go GP surgeries and mental health centres in Westminster to explain complex diagnoses and clinical information to patients who do not have English as their first language.
Dozens have signed a petition against the new booking system, run by Hull-based private company Language is Everything.
The petition says interpreters have a “history” with the company over late payments to them from back in 2013, and many have had to chase up their wages through the courts.
The petition to CNWL adds: “We find it morally wrong that you are asking us to work for the same people that have humiliated our colleagues by not paying them.”
A CNWL statement added: “We are aware of the difficulties Language is Everything had in 2013. “They told us they were entering into a legal mechanism called a Company Voluntary Agreement to deal with them. We were satisfied that the company was financially viable.”
Language is Everything was unavailable for comment.