"Change of hospital policy on interpreter..."

About: Royal Preston Hospital

I was fairly stunned and appalled by this allegedly new enforced hospital policy about the requirement for interpreters to attend clinic appointments when one was not clearly necessary in my case. Having waited for over 5 months to be seen by a specialist I was told that despite being with my daughter clearly fluent in English I could not be seen by one of the doctors as an interpreter was needed. My daughter spoke to nurses who informed us that this was a policy recently introduced a month ago. I cannot understand why interpreters need to be present when this is not a requirement and a family member is also present who I may add was informed couldn't be present during the consultation as only one person could be present.

Has Royal Preston Hospital gone bonkers and who brings in these half baked policies? A case by case assessment is necessary not blanket universal policy!

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Rhona Hartley, Head of Patient Experience and Customer Care, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. I was sorry to hear of your mother's experience and that you were misinformed about the use of interpreters and given the impression that the Trust's policy had changed recently. This is not a new policy, it has been in place for many years. In addition to being legally obliged to provide interpreters when necessary in line with the Human Rights Act 1998, article 14 and the Equality Act 2010, it is considered to be good practice to do so for the reasons detailed below.

The use of family members for interpreter services is discouraged because the hospital needs to ensure that the information provided is accurate. The interpreters we use are qualified to provide information about medical terminology which can be misinterpreted by people who do not understand health conditions. By using independent interpreters we can ensure that the patient receives information in an appropriate format. We can also ensure that the confidentiality and dignity of the patient is considered. We would however, encourage family members to be present during consultations where it is identified that the person is a carer of their relative.

I am sorry that your appointment could not proceed as planned. If you contact me with further details on 01772 522793, I will be happy to provide you with assistance for any future appointments.

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful