Summary of report content
Healthwatch North Yorkshire undertook research with refugees to highlight the difficulties in access to interpreter services within healthcare systems in North Yorkshire. They undertook focus groups with 49 refugees and carried out our own mystery shopping exercise at 25 pharmacies across the region.
- Only one in five of the refugees spoken to had access to interpreters at healthcare appointments. Others were refused access to interpreters or were unable to get access to services unless an interpreter was present, but these were not provided by the service.
- When there is access to an interpreter it is likely to improve patient experience. Similarly, if there is no interpreter or provision is inconsistent, patient experience will be impacted negatively.
- ‘Google Translate’ is often being used, despite its inaccuracy and often without space for patients to type in their own language.
- While face-to-face interpreting is favoured, the use of phone interpreters was still preferred over having no provision.
- People are not actively being given a choice of gender-appropriate interpreters.
- Booking systems are not clear and not conducive to ensuring interpretive services are in place.
- There are no pharmacies in the area offer verbal interpretation.
- Staff and patients are not sufficiently aware of interpreter provision, guidance and responsibilities. Without the confidence to understand the system and go down routes to make an official complaint, it seems the situation is likely to go without resolution for individuals.
There are 12 recommendations covering comprehensive provision of interpreters, monitoring of provision, how staff can identify the need for interpreting services, how interpreting services should be provided and how people with little or no English can be informed about interpreting services