13 Mar 2012
The think tank 2020health has issued a report revealing
that the NHS spends £59,000 per day on providing interpreters and
translating documents for people with hearing loss.
The research shows a total of £23.3 million
has been spent on translation in the last year, an increase of 17
per cent since 2007, leading 2020health to urge NHS Trusts to cut
down their expenditure in this area.
It recommended creating a central
repository of information to reduce the need for Trusts to
translate their documents, or simplifying patient documents to make
them easier to read. "The costs involved are truly staggering in an
age of austerity, and incredible when taken in the context of the
'Nicholson Challenge' of saving £20 billion across the Health
Service," said Julia Manning, chief executive of 2020health.
However, the think tank's report has drawn
the ire of Action on Hearing Loss, which says it fails to take into
account the 50,000 deaf people who rely on having access to
high-quality British Sign Language and English interpretation
services when they use the NHS. "People who are deaf have the right
to the same level of service as other patients and, to avoid
misunderstandings and frustration in what can often be very
emotional circumstances, it is vital that hospitals pay for
interpreters that fully meet their individual needs," said Paul
Breckell, acting chief executive of the charity.
If you think you may have a hearing loss why not take our
online hearing check questionnaire or make an appointment to
have a free
hearing test at your nearest Amplifon branch.
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