As a public body, NHS Grampian has a legal duty under Section 71 of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 to:-
"...eliminate unlawful discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity..."
An important part of the duty to promote equality of opportunity is equality of access to health care information, whether this is via interpretation or translation.
This is also in compliance with the Scottish Government Policy 'Fair For All'.
'Interpretation' is defined as changing the spoken word from one language to another. It is important to ensure that systems are in place to enable effective two way communication, when NHS Grampian staff provide health care to non-English speaking patients.
NHS Grampian can call upon a pool of 120 trained 'face to face' interpreters who can interpret a total of 60 different languages.
Interpreters can be provided in all areas of Grampian, upon request, but the request for a 'face to face' interpreter needs to be made at least 48 hours in advance, by the GP Practice, Clinic or Hospital Outpatient Department staff which the patient is going to attend.
'Face to face' interpreters can be provided for 60 different languages, however, there are approximately 82 different languages represented in Grampian. To fill the gap and to cover the situations where the need for interpretation is immediate, NHS Grampian supplements the 'face to face' interpretation service with the 'Language Line' telephone interpretation service.
'Language Line' is a telephone interpretation service which gives access to expert interpreters, on the telephone, in 60-90 seconds, for over 120 different languages. 'Language Line' is available in over 500 locations across NHS Grampian, including every Hospital and GP Practice.
Before 'Language Line' is introduced into an area, we:-
Full technical back up and ongoing support is also provided.
NHS Grampian has also produced a Mobile Access Kit, for the use of community staff. This Access Kit is suitable for use with a mobile phone and overcomes the problem of many homes in Grampian, not having a fixed landline.
Konftel Conference Call Units are also supplied for areas where there is group work carried out with non-English speaking patients. Conference Call Units are also supplied in situations where staff need both hands free to provide health care services, such as dental, podiatry, physiotherapy and labour suites.
An NHS Grampian Language Line Usage Report is produced each calendar year. This report is one piece in the jigsaw of information which helps us to track trends in inward migration. It provides useful information on the volume of calls, broken down by language and location.