Ipswich: Hospital spends more than £88,000 on interpreters in five years
INTERPRETERS to help doctors communicate with patients at Ipswich Hospital have cost more than £88,000 in the last five years.
On average £17,695 is spent each year at the hospital to help patients understand their treatment and care.
A Freedom of Information request by The Star, revealed the most requested interpreter was for British Sign Language, to help medics converse with deaf patients.
The second was Kurdish, followed by Portuguese, Polish and Lithuanian.
Since May 2010 the total number of requests made at Ipswich Hospital is 550 - averaging around £105 per session in the last three years.
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Jan Ingle, hospital spokeswoman said: “The use of translators and interpreters is so important for us because it is about patient safety.
“We have to make sure all our patients fully understand what is happening with their treatment and care, and are able to give them informed consent.”
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She said for more minor and routine conversations the hospital uses the Language Line.
That allows a clinician to call the line and relay the message they wish the patient to hear, translated into their own language.
But in cases where treatment is more complex or a patient requires greater explanation, the hospital will employ an interpreter so any advice can be given face-to-face.
Mrs Ingle added: “Patients have to understand what is happening.
“It it is quite straight forward doctors can use the language line.
“But where a diagnosis is more complex, where a patient is to be told they have terminal cancer for example, it is important the clinician speaks to the patient face-to-face.
“It is about quality, dignity and respect as well as privacy for our patients.
“We aim to provide safe and compassionate care, and the use of interpreters allows us to do that.
“For the 400,000 patients we see at the hospital every year, the number who require interpreters is very small.”