Health Services: Interpreters

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to support children who need to interpret for their parents during medical appointments.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Appropriate interpreting services should be provided to all patients requiring them and responsibility for meeting patients’ communication needs within the National Health Service rests with local providers. The NHS provides interpreting services to patients where applicable to ensure that patients are able to communicate effectively and appropriately with clinicians and other health service professionals.

NHS England’s guidance on commissioning interpretation services in primary care states that children under 16 years old should never act as interpreters, due to serious concerns around Gillick competence and safeguarding. Their guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/guidance-for-commissioners-interpreting-and-translation-services-in-primary-care.pdf

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