Patients to get face-to-face interpreters

John Knighton, medical director of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

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NON-ENGLISH speaking patients will be able to have interpreters when they go to see their doctors, dentists, pharmacists and opticians.

From Monday a team of translators, covering more than 30 languages, will be on hand to help those who do not have English as their first language.

The service is being provided by NHS Portsmouth, which signed a three-year contract with Prestige Network Ltd.

Telephone translation work will continue by existing provider Language Line.

Steve McInnes, improvement and development manager for NHS Portsmouth, said: ‘As a primary care trust, we’re responsible for meeting the city’s health needs via a comprehensive range of primary care services, including the network of 27 GP practices, 29 dental and orthodontic premises, 39 pharmacies and 15 opticians.

‘Ensuring fair and easy access to all health services for all residents remains a priority for the NHS and this obviously poses a potential issue for many people for whom English is not their first language.’

The service will operate from 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Fridays, excluding bank holidays.

The service will provide an interpreter to attend on site within five days for routine appointments and two days for urgent appointments.

To find out more information about becoming an interpreter call 01635 866 888, or email linguist@prestigenetwork.com.