Medical Interpreting During COVID19

You enter a hospital, an experience that already seems overwhelming and perhaps unnerving especially given the current pandemic. A doctor arrives to discuss your situation and treatment which to most is a relief having an expert perfectly explain what is going to happen and put your mind at ease. But what if you didn’t understand a word they said? What if they didn’t speak your language?

Medical interpreting plays an important role in the treatment of non-English speaking patients. However, given the current pandemic and safety measures in place, having a medical interpreter present is not possible. Over 2 million people in the UK are non-English speaks and a further 11 million people are deaf/hard of hearing.

There has already been discussion around the higher numbers of those from ethnic minorities in the UK contracting COVID19. While hospitals have access to remote language services such as Video and Telephone interpreting, aftercare can still put a patient at risk if materials for prescriptions are not translated or they are unable to access further support and resources.

Of course, these services should be available during the pandemic and all future treatment for non-English speakers. Although during this time the gaps in access to treatment, resources, and information reveal themselves, which is why it is important for all medical advice and information are available in multiple languages.

DA Languages offers a complete remote language service package. This includes:

Naturally, we have converted our clients over to using our remote services as well as training our face to face medical interpreters on providing interpreting services via remote channels.

All our remote services are available and capable of handling an increased demand which we have seen over the past month. Telephone and Video interpreting takes less than a day to implement with new and existing clients. Efficiency is a key focus for DA Languages during this time as we understand that waiting any amount of time can affect a patient waiting for treatment. Our aim is to make sure that patients receive treatment and support medical professionals doing their job unhindered by language barriers, therefore allowing both patients and medical teams to work together, understanding one another and ultimately providing the best treatment.

Out of all our clients currently using Video Interpreting a different language is requested 72% of the time. This means that there is a high demand for a mixture of languages for different appointments. Reflecting the diverse UK society, which is why it is important to provide a wide range of languages across all services. DA Languages provides over 450 languages and dialects including BSL.

Our top 10 most requested languages via remote services include:

  • Arabic
  • Polish
  • Tamil
  • Romanian
  • BSL (British Sign Language)
  • Urdu
  • Kurdish/ Kurdish Sorani
  • Bengali
  • Pashtu
  • Thai

The NHS is obligated to provide high-quality translations and interpretations in order to help all patients, with the need for this level of equality laid out across several documents:

  • European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2005
  • Equality Act 2010 (NHS England has responded to the specific equality duties in this Act)
  • The NHS Constitution 2012
  • Health and Social Care Act 2012
  • Social Value Act 2013
  • Accessible Information Standard (SCCI1605) 2016.

It is important to be aware of these documents and the standards set for the healthcare system to provide accurate interpretation as inaccurate information can lead to missed appointments, poor aftercare and safety measures not being adhered to.

Furthermore, the guidance and standards for medical translation and interpretation inform DA Languages’ own code of conduct for our interpreters, whether this is via remote channels or face to face. All our interpreters adhere to a strict code of conduct, which means their work is of the highest-quality and during this time they are all working incredibly hard to provide as much interpreting and translation as possible in order to make sure no one is disadvantaged due to their language.

We understand that during this time we all need to come together and a huge part of that is keeping communication open and resources accessible to all, especially when it comes to medical information. DA Languages currently work with over 70 NHS trusts as well as local authorities and multiple charities all of which are doing amazing work to help the UK throughout these uncertain times. DA Languages are privileged to support these great organisations with our remote language services.

If you would like to know more about our remote language services and how we can support you email enquiries@dalanguages.co.uk

We’re here for you. Stay safe and practice social distancing.

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