NHS Translation Services Spend

Recent research carried out by Think-Tank 2020 has revealed that the NHS are spending £60,000 everyday on professional translation and interpreting services. In 2011 the NHS spent £23m on translations and this year is predicted to increase by 12%. The nature of a professional medical translation requires the expertises of professional translators and translation agencies.

There are many reasons why within the NHS language barriers can be a problems but the argument is should taxpayer’s money within the NHS be spent on translations or should the patient take on the responsibility to translate documents. After all £60,000 a day could go a long way in terms of medical treatment and facilitating other requirements the NHS are struggling to fit into their budget.

Medical translation services enable the patient to read all medical documents concerning their health. Medical interpreters are also in demand to provide efficient dialog between doctors, nurses and patients. Is it fair that if a UK taxpaying citizen travels abroad and requires hospital treatment, they will be made to pay for any translation services required, whereas within the UK, as long as the person has a registered address the required medical translations will be covered by the NHS regardless if they are working or paying tax?

Another suggestion is that the doctors themselves can offer simplified English written documents so that the patient can understand the language clearer. This suggests that one does not have to be fluent in the English language to understand all the medical jargon, as long as the patient has a basic understanding in the English language they will be able to read and understand the medical reports. This way it encourages communities to integrate by using the same language no matter where you have come from, and essentially the NHS will save a lot of their budget to spend on more medical related problems.

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Posted on February 15, 2012, in Translation News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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