18 May 2017
Dundee patients with little grasp of English ‘lack trust’ of NHS interpreter service
Patients in Dundee with little grasp of English are relying on friends and family to translate medical issues to GPs.
It is claimed such is the lack of trust in the interpreter service offered by NHS Tayside, “low level” English speaking patients routinely ask friends and families to communicate for them at medical appointments.
In one case, it is said one woman attended her doctor surgery with her five-year-old grandchild who arranged with the GP in question for medicine to be prescribed.
Patients also periodically turn up to appointments to discover an interpreter fluent in an alternative language has been booked, it is claimed.
Caroline Mckenna, from Dundee International Women’s Centre, believes the current interpreter provision service is “fundamentally flawed”.
The claims follow similar complaints from members of Tayside Deaf Forum, who accused NHS Tayside of providing an unreliable interpreter service to deaf people.
Caroline said: “We have more than 100 women who attend our centre weekly and our staff struggled to find anyone who even uses the NHS service now. It really is a poor situation.
“Interpreters themselves have expressed their disappointment.
“It actually wouldn’t take much to get it right. It is really frustrating.”
A spokesman for NHS Tayside said: “NHS Tayside is committed to the obligations and responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 part of which is to ensure that we provide an interpretation service for patients where English isn’t their first language.
“We are still in the process of reviewing interpretation and translation services to allow us to consider how we deliver and manage interpretation and translation services in the future.”