2. Belfast Health & Social Care Trust Belfast Health & Social Care Trust is one of Europe’s largest health Trusts
It provides acute and community services to 345,000 people in Belfast and to a wider community across NI through its regional specialist services
Borne in 2007 – amalgamation of 6 Trusts in Belfast as result of Review of Public Administration
Whose overall purpose is to “improve health and well-being and to reduce health inequalities”
3. Context Since EU enlargement, NI has witnessed a sizeable demographic change - now home to a much more diverse population
One of most significant inequalities for ethnic minorities /migrants is language barrier to accessing health and social care
In 2007 BHSCT took on ownership and management of NI Health & Social Care Interpreting Service
From a legal perspective, failure to provide an interpreter in health and social care could constitute indirect racial discrimination
4. Legislative Framework Integral to Good Friday peace Agreement in Northern Ireland was introduction of comprehensive equality and human rights legislation to the Statute.
Section 75 of the NI Act 1998 meant that equality considerations must be mainstreamed into every function that Public Bodies carry out: service provision, policy formulation, employment & procurement.
9 groups of people are protected in the legislation: Those of different Religious belief, Racial Group, Political opinion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or those with/without disability and those with/without caring responsibilities.
5. Legislative Framework
Human Rights Act 1998 : people should be able to access the highest attainable standard of physical/mental health
Race Relations Order –not addressing the significant barrier of language could constitute ‘indirect racial discrimination’.It is unlawful for a public authority to discriminate against a person on the grounds of race or ethnic or national origins, or in the course of carrying out any functions of the authority which consist of the provision of healthcare.
6. Background of NIHSCIS The Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Interpreting Service was launched in June 2004
NIHSCIS is a product of the Regional Health and Social Services Interpreting Project for Black and Minority Ethnic Groups.
Driven by Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister, The Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure and the Department of Education.
Aims to significantly improve access to Heath and Social Care for Patients who do not speak English as a first or competent second language
7. NI Health and Social Care Interpreting Service 24 hour service
Face to face Interpreting only
Free-of-charge to HSC Practitioner and Patient
Over 150,000 requests received
278 Trained, professional, quality-controlled interpreters
NIHSCIS Team Consists of the Manager, Administrator and 3 Operators
10. INTERPRETERS: Ethical Case Not providing Interpreters means a significant proportion of minority ethnic groups do not have access to the same services in the same way as the rest of the population – impacts on equality of access.
Governance issue – someone cannot give informed consent to a procedure or treatment unless they can understand the information provided to them
The Ethical Case can also be illustrated by the potential consequences of not providing a trained Interpreter. In the worst-case scenario misdiagnosis or misunderstanding could seriously aggravate an illness, or cause the death of a patient
11. INTERPRETERS: Business Case There is a strong business case for supplying Interpreters as costs are quickly recovered in the medium term
Communication barriers prolong appointments, takes more staff time, with a strong potential for misdiagnosis, misunderstanding and non-consent to examination, treatment or care
There are cases of persons who were not provided with Interpreters returning to see their GP on numerous occasions and going through various treatments until their condition was addressed
Refusing to provide an Interpreter leaves Health and Social Care open to Litigation
12. DANGERS OF USING UNTRAINED INTERPRETERS Interpreting is a specific skill and profession. Using an untrained person as an ‘Interpreter’ is bad practice and can be dangerous
Lack of fluency in English or the other Language
Inaccurate Interpreting/lack of Interpreting Skills
No obligation to maintain confidentiality, honesty and impartiality
Lack of knowledge in the subject matter and terminology
Possible misuse of trust, power and information
Conflict of Interests
13. NIHSCIS Top 10 Languages Polish
Chinese – Cantonese
Chinese – Mandarin
14. Statistics –Requests per Year
15. Increasing demand
16. The Future Continue to increase capacity of service
2008/2009 – met 87% of all requests. Work to reduce non-provisions
Develop range/ scope of languages to meet evolving demographic profile
Ongoing engagement with key stakeholders – stakeholder forum
Revamp Code of Practice
Upgrade software/database technology
Consider provision of sign language interpreters – another minority language
Showcase good practice – NHS Scotland
Facilitate review of service to continuously monitor our progress
17. Personal Testimonies
18. To conclude, a few quotations:
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. Mohandas Gandhi
Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing. Rollo May
Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. Kofi Annan