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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Wokingham

Does the NHS have to provide an interpreter?

Do you know about your rights to language support in NHS settings?

High-quality translation and interpretation are vital to ensuring that people access the health and care services they are entitled to and understand their treatment. But did you know that healthcare providers must provide patients with translation and interpretation services?

Do you have a right to an interpreter?

It is your right to have a professional interpreter help you at every stage of your healthcare journey. It is the responsibility of your healthcare provider to arrange an interpreter for you.

The NHS has a legal responsibility to make sure that the services they provide are equally accessible to all sections of the community. Guidance to services also makes clear that a professional interpreter should always be offered where language is an issue in discussing health matters.

What should I expect?

You have a right to expect that the NHS provides timely interpretation support. Additional time should be provided at appointments when an interpreter is required.

Your healthcare worker should also record in your healthcare record:

· your preferred spoken language (including dialect)

· your preferred written language

· whether you require an interpreter.

This information should be passed on when you get a referral to other health or social care services.

You should never have to pay for language interpretation services.



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