Using interpreters to access health and social care support in OxfordshireDownload (PDF 1.02MB)
Summary of report content
In June 2021, Healthwatch Oxfordshire launched two surveys to gather views on using interpreting services when accessing and using NHS health and care. This was as a result of what they heard from local communities and within local meetings, about interpreting services, as well as about a related topic - the lack of accessible information in different languages about health and care, and particularly during COVID-19.
They heard from 97 people – 34 health professionals and 63 service users and analysed a further 30 additional comments from people through their ongoing conversations with communities. The 34 health and care professionals who responded represented a variety of organisations including: hospital, community health services, maternity and mental health services; local authority, GPs as well as a range of voluntary sector groups.
Of 63 responses, Oxfordshire Chinese Community and Advice Centre (OCCAC) gave proactive support in reaching 33 members of the Chinese community with the survey. As a result, over half of the responses of service users came from this community and thus had an impact on findings.
However, despite this, common themes emerged across all responses and comments, and help to shed light on common experiences.
People had mixed awareness about the availability of interpreter services. Not everyone was offered an interpreter when booking an appointment.
Overall people were happy with the quality of interpreting support they received. Health and care professionals told us that overall they were satisfied with the quality of interpreting service support they received. Issues identified included:
- Availability for appropriate language, dialect, and gender
- Some barriers with administration whilst booking an interpreter
- Responses from the hospital sector indicated some frustration over use of equipment - reach and signal, ease of use, training and operation, for supporting interpreters. Whilst much progress has been made in some services, for example in providing headsets for maternity services, comments indicated there are still some improvements to be made.
The report includes 5 recommendations.