to think if you want NHS care you should learn English or have an interpreter?

(189 Posts)
theebayqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 15:03:55

My local town is now populated by 47% Polish - no problems as according to the figures 21% work so presumably speak English. I have to attend my local centre to see my Consultant and for scans. However, everytime I have been the centre is full of Polish woman who do not speak a word of English and expect the NHS to provide an interpreter. Thursday clinics are the worst as this is when the men have to attend the Job Centre to get "paid" so the ladies are left to fend for themselves. The men seem to be able to speak more English than the woman.

At first they were turned away as the MW's were unable to do their jobs properly but these ladies have filed a law suit against the clinic stating it is their human right to have NHS care as they are on the benefit system and that the NHS should provide full time interpreters for them.

If they win, does this not open up another can of worms that every person that can't speak English and on the benefit system is entitled to on demand interpreters?! This would then be another huge cost to the NHS.

I am in no way racist and if the UK wants to encourage people over here for benefits then so be it but when does the free stuff stop?! Should people not learn to speak English if they want to claim on the benefit system?

EauRouge Wed 23-Jan-13 15:44:34

A town that's 47% Polish? Bollocks.

thegreylady Wed 23-Jan-13 15:45:05

Our GP surgery in our small Shropshire town has the digital sign in screen with a choice between Polish and English. When you think of the great service done to this country by Polish airmen during the war and the shabby way they were treated afterwards all of us should be glad that we are finally giving something back to these proud,hardworking and very courageous people.

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 15:45:22

Could be Warsaw, Eau?

TotallyBS Wed 23-Jan-13 15:45:47

47% in your town is Polish??? Care to name this town?

Or is it really 47% are Asian and you think that by country changing you can avoid being flamed for being racist (not that I think that you are).

JoanByers Wed 23-Jan-13 15:46:36

Are you getting confused with 4.7%?

Forgetfulmog Wed 23-Jan-13 15:46:52

OP???

Actually, my DSIL was an interpreter for a while, and the NHS was the biggest client of the company she worked for. The cost to the NHS is astronomical. There are two kinds - planned interpreters, and ad-hoc, which are even more expensive. I believe a lot is being done over the phone now to save money

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 15:50:24

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/11/census-boston-eastern-european-immigration shows that census returns indicate 10.7 per cent of people in Boston, Lincs are Eastern European (Poland , Latvia etc) and it has the highest proportion in England and Wales.

So - not exactly 47 per cent Polish, is it?smile

NatashaBee Wed 23-Jan-13 15:52:27

Generally, I do think that if you choose to live in a country you should learn the language. But you would have to be at an extremely high ability level in a foreign language to understand the medical terminology and express yourself clearly when you're in pain or worried - I think the interpreter being present is a safer alternative all round. I can't imagine having to communicate in a different language when I was in labour... I struggled to make myself clear in English!

herladyship Wed 23-Jan-13 15:53:09

If OP does in fact mean Boston, her post is untrue as I've worked for United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust & they use pearl linguistics in MW clinics!

TheLightPassenger Wed 23-Jan-13 15:54:48

I await the OPs link to info about the court case with great interest wink,

Everyone has a right to privacy in medical situations and therefore a qualified interpreter is the correct option. No one should have to discuss personal medical information through a third party who was a family member/friend. It may well be more cost effective in some communities to employ a full time interpreter if the need was great enough. Interpreters can be expensive but are worth paying for - however it is wasteful if an interpreter is booked for an appointment and the client doesn't show up.

HappyJoyful Wed 23-Jan-13 15:56:44

I think you are hugely generalising and making nasty (and racist) comments about the Polish community - without, as many have asked, being able to submit any evidence what so ever.

Many of the Polish or other Eastern Europeans that are here are working hard, it is outrageous and ignorant to state that the 'men are getting 'paid'.

I think you will find many of the Eastern Europeans here are young and try hard to learn the language and work. As many have said, there are huge amounts of immigrants of all nationalities that also don't speak English.. as other's have said and having worked in Social Housing (another area like NHS) where interpreters are needed I have certainly come across many Asian women of a certain age or Somali women living here within tight knit communities speak little or no English and are far more heavily reliant on translation services than the Eastern European community.

znaika Wed 23-Jan-13 15:56:48

I am an Eastern European so not racist against "them" (or us !?) at all but even I think this is absurd. it's crazy expecting the host nation to fund interpreters for people to access state run services- I measn how is this even possible, how many nationalities live in the UK- hundreds of different languages surely? I thought Embassies provided interpreters for people that were in trouble with the law and needed police interpreters.

Also there are such things as English language hospitals- all the expats in Moscow pay loads on insurance and go the the American clinics with English language speaking doctors. I imagine there are similar in most large cities.

SunshineOutdoors Wed 23-Jan-13 15:57:07

I hope you never find yourself in a situation where you need medical attention but you can't understand what the doctor is saying about your condition or the treatment you will receive.

ginmakesitallok Wed 23-Jan-13 16:01:11

Our NHS policy is that anyone who doesn't speak English is entitled to an interpreter. We use telephone interpretation mostly, but also have face to face if clinically required. Should NHS just turn non English speakers away? Or just test them without actually understanding them or getting informed consent? We do work closely with adult learning and give info about language classes.

A common reason to use interpreters is with dementia, when people often revert to their mother tongue.

Op, yabu

Forgetfulmog Wed 23-Jan-13 16:01:31

The OP appears to have gone AWOL

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Wed 23-Jan-13 16:03:41

I'm also fascinated to find out where this town is that's 47% Polish....

Oh, wait, has the town only got two houses?

Chislemum Wed 23-Jan-13 16:04:38

znaika agree with you that someone who comes to live here permanently needs to learn the language for their own benefit - just like you and I have. I am foreign myself.

However, medical should not depend on whether you speak the language.

Ideally NHS staff should also be required to speak English that can be understood.... not always a given and a bit dangerous when you cannot understand what you are being told.

znaika Wed 23-Jan-13 16:04:50

But do they have people who can speak every language on Earth? Do they keep the interpreters on call. What if it's one person from that language every five years? I'm intrigued as to how this could work- I'm foreign and have never accessed NHS although I lived in the UK for a long time. Explain!
Some of the things people take for granted in the UK are shocking to foreigners!

You're in no way racist?

You just help racists out when they're busy then? hmm

Chislemum Wed 23-Jan-13 16:05:31

znaika agree with all you said, just wanted to add that.

t0lk13n Wed 23-Jan-13 16:06:58

I teach in a school with 30% children who are Polish...the children usually go to the hospital appointments to interpret...what probably happened for generations when people emigrated here!

tiktok Wed 23-Jan-13 16:07:21

Interpreters are paid by the hour, and are not permanently on call.

(I know this, as I ran a bf support group where we had an interpreter (Urdu), who was paid on an hourly rate to attend).

No one expects public services to provide interpreters for 100s of different languages everywhere.

Chislemum Wed 23-Jan-13 16:07:26

znaika if people need medical care it cannot be withheld just because they cannot speak the language. Yes, it is difficult with interpreters and not sure what the answer is here.... still if someone suffers, would you withhold help?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now