Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Improving the quality of interpreting in primary care

Improving the quality of interpreting in primary care
We are reviewing how patients who are Deaf or do not speak English as a first language, use interpreting services so they can access the best care and information. To achieve this, we will engage with those patients so we can articulate what a good quality service looks like.
North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) with support from University of Manchester SORD – Social Research with Deaf people) and Education Partnerships UK/Trescom (for community/spoken languages) will, with NHS England, facilitate the co-production of a set of principles with patients and clinicians which, when implemented will help to ensure that we reduce health inequalities in primary care settings.

Project initiation document

Our regular briefings are below, to update anyone interested in the work.

Emerging themes
From a wide study of reports on quality interpreting, and from the focus groups we have carried out, some of the emerging themes we have found are below:
  • Seamless services – a need for a streamlined, easy to access, flexible and cost-effective ITS
  • Knowing how to use – a need for more clarity on how the ITS provision works and how to book assignments
  • Principles – need to address issues such as:
    • Confidentiality in the client – interpreter relationship
    • Understanding by the interpreter of the confidential relationship between client and patient
    • Understanding the ethics and standards of the health sector
    • Use of qualified interpreters rather than members of family and friends
    • Professional qualifications for interpreters, sector-specific training, continuous professional training /continuous professional development
  • Contracting arrangements – a need for contracts/service level agreements with providers to explicitly describe sub-contracting arrangements, payment schedules, management fees and fair rates of pay for interpreters
  • Training – a need for awareness and  training for professional, practice staff and clinician on the ITS
  • Training on health benefits – overall a need for improved awareness of the potential impact on the patient’s health if ITS is not used as necessary
The themes have been used to develop a draft Principles Framework for Interpreting and Translation Services.
The draft Principles Framework will be used to develop service specifications and commission models for delivering quality interpreting services. It is currently in draft and being shared with the stakeholder and steering group for the project.

Further information
For additional information, including past bulletins on the project, or enquires please contact

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