A streamlined service for patients who require language support when attending community or outpatient appointments or those coming into hospital has been redesigned in NHS Forth Valley.
The new service can provide interpreters, either face-to-face or by telephone for people whose first language isn’t English, or arrange British Sign Language, Deafblind Manual, Lipspeakers and Notetakers for those with a sensory loss. Four companies supply minority language assistance, whilst another supplies language service professionals for British Sign Language etc. All interpreters are qualified and work to a code of ethics.
Bookings are made through the Disability Equality and Access Service who then process the request and assist to make the most appropriate arrangements. The information is captured in a specially designed data base which allows details of all interpretation appointments being undertaken across the various departments to be seen live and available immediately. This includes appointment area, service user details and appointment time, language required, who booked the service and for how long, and which interpreter and company is undertaking that booking.
The team is managed by Charlene Condeco assisted by Administrative Co-ordinator Stacey Gourlay and Disability Equality Advisor Annette McInnes. Capturing patient details including contact telephone numbers, allows a demographic picture to be built up. Recording contact information also enables patient reminders to be sent in the service user’s native language. It is hoped this will reduce the number of missed appointments and offer service users the opportunity to identify any difficulties they may have in attending.
Interpretation and translation information is currently being cascaded to health teams across Forth Valley, including GPs, dental, prison health, community and hospital services. The information includes a booking flow chart, language identification card, guide for using telephone language line and a staff handbook which has lots of information about working with an interpreter and best practice.
In the past three years the number of service users requiring interpreters has grown from just over 200 to 3,000 plus. Currently the most popular language requested is Polish followed by Arabic, Hungarian, Mandarin, Punjabi, Lithuanian and Russian. Other languages are also requested but in much lower numbers.
To book the service contact: 01324 590886, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.