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'Marked rise' in interpreters at Warrington Hospital
11:00am Friday 30th August 2013 in News
DO you know what the Polish is for ‘I’m having stomach pains’ or perhaps the Cantonese translation for ‘I think I’ve sprained my ankle’.
Warrington Hospital chiefs have revealed there has been a ‘marked rise’ in the need for interpreters in the town in the last year with British sign language topping the list.
Since 2011-12, the amount spent on interpreters has more than doubled at the Lovely Lane hospital with the number of face-to-face sessions required for patients who cannot speak English tripling.
Over the last 12 months the top five requests for translators included 95 sign language cases, 67 Polish, 24 Cantonese, 11 Russian and 10 Mandarin.
A Warrington Hospital spokesman said: “We have a legal duty to provide translation and interpretation services to patients and now use a third party provider called The Big Word which also helps ensure cover for emergency admissions.
“We quickly pre-meet or brief the interpreter on the phone to explain the procedure/appointment and the terms that may be used, followed by the appointment.
“This usually lasts longer than a standard appointment as it goes through the interpreter to patient and back.”
The average cost per session is around £55 with face-to-face interpretation costing more than a phone consultation.
For British Sign Language the standard national cost is £150 and the interpreters have special medical language training.
It means in the last two years nearly £39,000 has been spent on more than 700 face-to-face interpretation and telephone sessions.
A rise in the need for translation in the last year has been put down to the changing demographics in the area, as Polish did not feature in the hospital’s top language list until two or three years ago, as well as more awareness of the new system and better logging of requests by staff.
The spokesman added: “It’s really important that we know of any interpretation needs as far in advance as possible so that we can book the sessions.”
Earlier this year the Warrington Guardian reported more Slovakians are moving to Warrington than any other area in the UK.
Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions also found residents from Iraq, Afghanistan, Singapore and one person from Somalia are also living in the town.
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