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NHS
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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #1
21-08-2009 01:42 PM

I am a great supporter of the NHS and indeed at present getting excellent treatment from it.

However one saving that could be made at hospitals is notices everywhere for people to get translators for various obscure languages at our expense. I was advised it cost GBP 100.00 a time to get a translator.

I believe translators should be supplied , if required , for foreign tourist or business people who are bringing money into the country but NOT for people who want to live here.They should learn the language as a priority or if not bring a friend or family member who can.

Howmany other countries , I wonder , offer such a service. We could save millions nationwide. I trust the next Government will change the rules.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #2
21-08-2009 03:14 PM

Yes, let them die until they get proficient.Mad

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Johnc


Posts: 138
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #3
21-08-2009 03:21 PM

I would take an alternative view. With so many overseas doctors and nurses, we should all learn their languages before we get treated. Either that or get some babel fish

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #4
21-08-2009 03:30 PM

Babel fish!!

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michael


Posts: 3,210
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
21-08-2009 03:46 PM

brian Wrote:
I believe translators should be supplied , if required , for foreign tourist or business people who are bringing money into the country but NOT for people who want to live here.


Surely most people who have come to this country contribute far more to the economy over the course of their lives than tourists who come here for a few weeks.

Whilst I agree that everybody in this country should be encouraged to learn English, we should not impose such draconian rules in health care. A far better saving could be made by stopping all government publications and websites needing to be made available in Welsh - a language that almost nobody speaks, and those who do all speak English as well.

However, if I were being treated in a Welsh hospital I would hope that they would explain to me what was happening in English rather than Welsh, even if that meant getting a translator.

Anyway, good to have a pointless debate on a Friday.

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Johnc


Posts: 138
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #6
21-08-2009 03:47 PM

Sorry - Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Stick one in your ear and it translates any language. I won't go into the science!

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #7
21-08-2009 05:47 PM

Best to leave the Welsh out of it... it's a very thorny issue!

Perhaps Brian would seek to deny medical treatment to the gargantuan amount of ex-pat Brits around the world who wouldn't be able to be 'talked through' their medical problems in the country they live in...?Mellow

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #8
21-08-2009 05:49 PM

I know what a babel fish is, Johnc. I just had a flashback Smile

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #9
21-08-2009 10:02 PM

I would have thought that translation fees were a drop in the ocean compared with most other NHS budgetary expenditure in any case?

I feel a rant coming on. This new debate and debacle stirred up by some Tories in the US , and the rightly indignant retorts of David Cameron, like the issue of the location of the next Jerk Day, has provided some news interest in a generally quiet month. The footage of some of the hysterical US opposition to health care reform in the US has been good fun given that so many seem to think public health care free at the point of need = communism. Good luck to Barack Obama in attempting to reform the system, I feel that everything is weighted against him but perhaps he may just have the persistence to get things through.

I was taken to hospital once in the US some years ago shortly after landing- I was ill on the plane and became dehydrated which raised my blood pressure to scary levels and affected my heart rate. As I wasn't talking very coherently ( ho ho) The airline called an ambulance ( Fire Department) and we sped off to a private hospital in West Virginia. Once there I was put on a bed on a drip and waited to see the doctor. The first person who came to see me was the bursar who wanted to see the colour of my credit card before I was seen by any professionals. As I was barely coherent because of the lack of fluids it was a difficult conversation. It was also difficult to sign the invoice with a drip in my right arm. Basically I had to hand over ?500 in cleared funds before any doctor would see me, a sum which included the cost of the ambulance. When we returned to the UK another bill arrived for another ?500- the ?500 paid in the US was apparently a deposit. In total a 20 minute ambulance ride, a saline drip, a blood pressure test, a brief chat with a junior doctor and occupation of a hospital trolley for one hour cost me ?1000. Just as well nothing was really wrong apart from a temporary effects of being ill at altitude and dehydration. And that was over 10 years ago. Thankfully we had insurance which covered 80% but only retrospectively. Apart from the general hospitals in the US which tend to be free for emergency services,( lets face it, these exist to prevent the well off having to trample over dead and dying people on the pavement) this is what most US citizens would have experienced had they not had insurance cover, and as we hear many don't, or many are thrown out of policies if the company has a bad year. It was a chilling experience to be asked for money before anyone would see me. I had lost the comfort zone and unconditional care of the NHS albeit temporarily, and it was frightening. An eye opener. In the next bed there was a debate going on about a tetanus injection. A child had been cut and the staff recommended to his mother that he have the jab. Only it cost $50US , she had no insurance, and she felt it was too much, so she wanted a full explanation of the risks of tetanus. The conversation went on for the full hour I was in the adjacent cubicle. In the UK he would have just had it as routine. I think she opted not to have it.

With medical advances and treatments people will become more and more demanding and won't always get the cutting edge treatment that they want. We have a long way to go on many things not least cutting MRSA rates, but at the end of the day, as long as we appreciate that decisions have to made concerning probabilities and outcomes, we have a fantastic system here that will always have the moral edge over so many others. The maternity/birth services and child health are fantastic. It costs a fortune but it gets things right at a time when it can make a lot of difference to the lives of mothers and babies. I don't want to see people dying in the street or people being turned away from hospital because they don't have the right paperwork as can happen in the US. I am proud that we have a system that treats pregnant women even if they're not otherwise entitled to free treatment. There is likely to be more pressure on the NHS in coming years, lets not be complacent and instead fight to retain our wonderful although never perfect system.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #10
22-08-2009 07:59 AM

I seem to have offended the majority of posters , what a surprise.
Re someones comment about ex pat Brits . I agree they should learn the local language.
Do Spanish hospitals provide free tanslators in Somali , Albanian etc etc ?

I have no idea of the answer as rarely stray from these shores ( occasional visits to Belgium and Germany excepted ). I spend my money helping the British economy.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
22-08-2009 01:11 PM

I can't see what the alternative is, Brian. If people turn up ill at A+E in the UK, and the hospital is duty bound to treat them in any case, then it is not in the hospitals best interests to turn them away or not make every attempt to understand what the matter is. You can't not treat people because you don't understand whats wrong nor can a hospital demand payment in advance for translation services assuming they can pay, if there may be life threatening consequences in any delay. I speak good French and a little Spanish, but I wouldn't want to have to rely on my ability to do so if I am taken ill or been in an accident and in pain, as I probably wouldn't remember the words under complete stress. Everything would probably come out in my own language.

You mention Somali and Albania, which are likely to be immigrant/refugee groups, but what if the injured are Japanese/French/German tourists? Surely in your analysis the same issues would apply?

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #12
22-08-2009 06:58 PM

Hi Roz
I appreciate your comments
I did say on my first post that tourists ( who boost economy ) should get translators if required.
I know this is not east ands would be interested what German , Dutch or French hospitals do in this situation

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #13
22-08-2009 09:44 PM

You don't know just from someone's nationality who and who is not contributing to the local economy, Brian.

I am going to be a little brusque and say there is probably not much of a logical debate to be had here so this will be my last post on this particular subject at this time.

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nursemac


Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2008
Post: #14
23-08-2009 10:39 AM

As an NHS worker I can understand your frustrations regarding the cost of the translation service but there are other issues involved, have you thought how difficult it would be for staff to care for these patients if unable to communicate with them? Hospitals get charge a fee for each procedure, the benefit outweighing the cost.

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #15
23-08-2009 12:52 PM

Perhaps they do speak English well enough to go shopping etc but not enough to describe the complexities of different types of pain in different body parts. Someone's might be able to say that I have a pain in my arm but it's the type and history that will say whether that's because they've been stung, they've sprained a muscle, they've torn a tendon, they've broken it or they're about to have a heart attack. The cost of correcting a wrong diagnosis might be far more than the price of a translator.

Perhaps it should be more about how the cost of translating could be reduced? By employing more people who speak other languages fluently who can be called in if there's an emergency? By encouraging staff in hospitals where other languages are needed to try to learn them - perhaps with a good work bonus if they do so?

Incidentally, what's to say that their husband/wife/children aren't hardworking English-speaking taxpayers and the poor patient just doesn't have much a gift for language?

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #16
23-08-2009 03:15 PM

I know this is a concern to NHS as the costs etc were mentioned to me by a member of staff whilst at the Lewisham Hospital. They said they get GBP 100.00 per call however little time they were required.

I do appreciate people comments but would be interested as to whether other European countries , othe The USA subsidises this service to provide jobs for many translators living near the hospital.

I must say again I am very impressed with the NHS service in general but if cuts have to be made this could be a start.

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katie one


Posts: 17
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #17
24-08-2009 10:31 AM

My brother has a Portugese partner and a home in rural Portugal. He is still coming to grips with Portugese so if he needs help with doctors or the locals, he has to take his partner with him or one of his family, and fortunately they all speak English. The Portugese do not provide translators, and why should they?

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #18
24-08-2009 12:49 PM

Thank you Katie someone agrees with me.
One EU country has commonsense rules

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #19
24-08-2009 01:18 PM

I think, Brian, that once all the non- English speaking ill people in UK have passed on due to lack of treatment as no one could bother to understand what was wrong with them, we should perhaps then move on to refusing treatment to the other vulnerable members of our society, ie the over 65's and children under 18, who are also clearly not pulling their weight economically speaking. I assume that you would be happy with that too.?

You should remember that people , you included, who have been brought up as English speakers from birth will always have an innate advantage in the global economy and one achieved without even trying. There are also many people in the UK spending lots of time,effort and their own money having formal TEFL lessons in order to get on and to become self sufficient in the language. I am fortunate enough to have some teacher training in TEFL which unfortunately I could not complete. It takes years to become proficient as an adult especially when you are, as someone I know, working 24/7 in a grotty West End burger bar to pay for it all. It takes even longer to become so proficient as to be able to describe and understand medical procedures and advice given. There are many lower cost and free English schemes for refugees but these are hard to come by but people still strive to do them even in very difficult circumstances. I have personally taught young refugee women who have endured the most dreadful experiences before escaping to the UK and gaining refugee status. I saw them come to classes night after night and work hard to learn the language. But then no doubt you would begrudge them the subsidised courses and suggest that they are all returned home forthwith to face what would be almost certain death in their communities.

You say you never travel abroad. But if you had and if you had been taken ill in for instance, a country such as India you would have no trouble at all finding a senior doctor who spoke English to treat you. Lucky you, and lucky us in the UK, as wherever we travel in the world, we are likely in our hour of need to come across someone who can speak English proficiently enough to be able to save our lives .Even the indo European and Latin roots of English are often enough to make basic communication possible, which can often be enough.

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #20
24-08-2009 01:34 PM

Some years ago I wrenched my knee while skiing in Andorra. Handily, there was a clinic built into the cable car station Ohmy. While I was there several other similar injuries were brought in. One lady, also english, arrived by blood wagon with an inflatable cast on one leg. The doctor spoke spanish, but could get along in french. The lady could only speak english. Acting as interpreter, in my best O-level french, it transpired that although she had a dreadful hangover, her knee was fine. She was sent on her way with a couple of aspirin ...

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