All BSUH staff need to be aware of the following and use it when working with patients. If you are unclear about working with interpreters you must contact the Equality department to arrange a 30 minute training session for all staff in your area.

  1. Communication services are assist staff and patients. It helps staff gain informed consent and it enables patients to feel listened to.
  2. Effective communication reduces misdiagnoses, failure to adhere to a treatment regime and frequent admissions.
  3. Children must not be used as interpreters.
  4. As far as possible, family and friends should not be used as interpreters because they:
    – are not accredited
    – may be emotionally involved
    – may breach confidentiality
    – may misinterpret information
    – may have a conflict of interest
    – may not be aware about sexual orientation or gender identity issues.
  5. Time is a key consideration. Three-way communication with a different language often needs more time for focus and to ensure everything has been clarified and understood.
  6. Use your clinical judgement to decide what you need to get a medical history and communicate clearly.
  7. Consider cross-cultural issues and the need to re-check that the patient and/or carer has understood the treatment and options.
  8. Be aware that some people may be anxious about talking about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity because they are not out to family/friends/carers.
  9. An interpreter will provide a confidential service – please be prepared to reassure the patient about confidentiality.

Working with an interpreter V1.1 July 2018


Communication Support Services available to our Patients – Version 1.6 July 2018