Background/introduction Our centre serves a typical linguistically diverse inner city area. The General Medical Council (GMC) states we must provide our patients with information in a way they understand and, where possible, make arrangements to meet language needs. The trust has its own policy, in line with NHS England, relying exclusively on commercial medical interpretation services.
Aim(s)/objectives To ensure we are responding to the communication and language needs of our clients in line with GMC guidance and trust policy.
Methods A retrospective case note review of patients attending between January 2014 and August 2015 coded as requiring an interpreter. A systematic sample of 100 out of 604 cases was taken.
Results 88 notes were identified as appropriately coded. Place of birth comprised 23 countries with the most common being Ecuador (15, 17%), Spain (15, 17%) and Colombia (11, 12.5%). The most common language recorded was Spanish (32, 36%). The type of interpreter used was documented in 76 (85%) cases with 48% of episodes using telephone Language Line. Other sources of interpretation included friend (9%), family (3.3%), partner (5.5%), clinician (4.4%) and Google Translate (11%) with, at times, multiple sources. Average consultation time was increased by 12.7 minutes. The majority of results (80.3%) were delivered by text in English.
Discussion/conclusion Although the trust recommends exclusive use of commercial interpretation services we are using this in only 48% of episodes. Other sources are utilised but these are not recommended by the trust. It may be that clarified departmental protocol will change practice.
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