The Trust actively encourages the principles of equal provision and access to health services by fully acknowledging the cultural, religious, linguistic and personal needs of patients and their families.
The interpreting service aims to provide patients with a high quality professional interpreting service that is appropriate, acceptable and accessible. This is achieved by using carefully screened, qualified and experienced interpreters who offer their services in a wide range of languages, on a strictly confidential basis. We work to ensure that people are not disadvantaged because of language or communication difficulties.
Our interpreting service team aims to:
- Develop mutual understanding of the feelings, needs and expectations of clients;
- Assist health professionals to adjust service provision to meet the needs of people from different cultural and religious backgrounds;
- Enable agencies to provide services that are user friendly;
- Be equal members of a professional healthcare team.
- Our interpreters will treat any information that may come to them in the course of their work as strictly confidential and will abide by the Interpreter's Code of Practice at all times.
Getting an interpreter
We can provide an interpreter to attend your outpatient appointment with you or while you are an inpatient at the hospital. If you need to access the interpreting service please contact the Appointments office on the telephone number given in your appointment letter, the relevant department or ward or ask one of the nurses on the ward to arrange this for you.
Meeting your needs
In order to meet patient communication needs, we can access over 55 languages through our own bank of freelance interpreters or agencies. We also provide British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting and our BSL interpreters are all either MRSLI registered or studying towards it.
Our interpreters are reliable and punctual. They will present themselves at the appropriate venue of appointment with an identity badge, introducing themselves to a named contact person. All Trust interpreters are CRB cleared and are qualified in Community Interpreting.
- Facilitate effective communication between patients and health professionals;
- Provide an impartial service and understand their boundaries;
- Assist professionals to adjust service provision to meet the needs of people from different cultural and religious backgrounds;
- Will be committed to the principles of equal provisions and access to Healthcare services;
- Will not divulge information without the permission of the patient and healthcare professional and are bound by the Interpreter's Code of Confidentiality;
- Offer information on the cultural and religious needs of patients
Booking an interpreter
To book a Trust interpreter from Monday to Friday, in normal working hours, please contact:
The Interpreting Service
Tel: 020 8216 4661/4993
Fax: 020 8216 4528
To book emergency and out-of-hours interpreting, please contact switchboard on 0845 111 4000 to see if there is someone available from the 'on-call' list. If no-one is available Language Line can be used. For this the patient will need to be in a room with a speaker phone. Each department has been given a code number which they will need to access the service. The department code will be available from the Ward Manager. Language Line call costs will be re-charged to departments - calls cost £1 per minute.
Asking a relative or friend to interpret
Unless it is an emergency, we advise our health professionals to use a professional and qualified interpreter for consultations. Research shows that it can be difficult for family or friends to act as interpreters. Children should never be asked to interpret for a range of reasons, not least that they may find it upsetting or disturbing themselves and may worry about the well being of their relative.
Important health information, including Pregnancy, Flu, Stroke, Giving consent, Help with health costs, is available on the multilingual factsheets page.
The accessibility features of the Trust website include a function to translate the Trust website pages into 32 languages. The website also features Browsealoud and the ability to adjust the text size.