Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Bury St Edmunds: West Suffolk Hospital defends £3,000 bill to improve language

14:39 03 April 2014

Archant

West Suffolk Hospital has spent almost £3,000 on improving its staff’s English according to new figures, as the cost of running a multinational health service continues to soar.

Cooks, porters and admin staff were among those given the English language lessons at the hospital, which has racked up a £2,960 bill over three years.

Last month the EADT revealed that West Suffolk has spent almost £270,000 over the same period of time on translation and interpreter costs, while campaigners questioned why foreign workers were filling seemingly menial posts.

But a spokeswoman for the hospital defended it as a “good investment” having had 82 different members of staff pass through the course in recent times.

She added: “Over the last three years, we have spent an average of less than £1,000 a year on English language classes for staff, which represents a tiny proportion of our annual budget of around £170m.

“We view this as a good investment as it ensures staff can converse effectively, in turn ensuring our patients have a good experience when using the hospital.”

While medical staff made up the bulk of those that took the course, 31 were employed in support roles such as administration, catering and estates. Other staff signed up to the course included porters and cleaners.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s time health chiefs look at why people from the UK are not filling those roles.”

All clinical staff qualified to practice in the UK must have passed a nationally recognised English exam, while anyone undertaking an apprenticeship or foundation degree at the hospital must study English Functional Skills to a GCSE-equivalent level.

Forty of the 82 staff members that took the course were British.

Filipino, Lithuanian and Vietnamese staff also took the course between the 2010/11 and 2012/13 financial years.

Between 2011 and 2013, the hospital spent £264,800 on translation costs. However, the bill had dropped to £69,000 last year, having been close to £100,000 in the previous two years.

The EADT this week revealed that the hospital’s future financial viability had been questioned by both the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and health watchdog Monitor unless pressure could be eased on its services.

2 comments

  • They should ensure that the staff they recruit have adequate English languge skills. If they do not don't recruit them

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Clinical qualifications should take preference over language so that is fair enough. However if the non clinical staff can fill out an application form,write a CV and covering letter and pass an interview in English why would they need any extra lessons.

    Report this comment

    royg

    Friday, April 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Colchester General Hospital

An “exciting” new multi-million pound state-of-the-art department will be built at Colchester General Hospital as it becomes a regional centre for medical tests.

Lord Framlingham - Sir Michael Lord - joined Vote Leave supporters in Ipswich.

With the date of the EU referendum now less than four weeks away, supporters of both sides in the battle over the UK’s future have been taking their campaign to the streets.

Suffolk fisherman Harry Simper

A young Suffolk fisherman has netted himself a national award.

Carol Turgoose with volunteers at the foodbank in Halstead

Opticians across Essex and Suffolk have given a boost to charities supporting poverty-stricken families in the area.

One of the walks takes in views of the river Deben

A walking festival is stepping up its programme of events for the half term week, offering something for all levels of ability.

John Popplewell with his 45lb stingray

A Clacton fisherman caught a “monster” stingray weighing nearly three and a half stone on an Essex beach this week – and filmed it all on his new GoPro.

The launch of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's large animal rescue unit in 2009. Picture: Andrew Partridge

Firefighters helped to rescue a horse which got stuck in a ditch in Tollesbury.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24