New Healthwatch England report on NHS Translation Services: ‘Lost for words’

Clear, understandable information is vital to help you make decisions about your health and care and get the most out of services. Healthwatch England’s latest research shows that people who speak little or no English struggle at all points of their healthcare journey. These are often some of the most vulnerable in our society, for example, refugees and asylum seekers.   

They find it difficult to register with a GP, access urgent care, navigate large healthcare premises, explain their problems, or understand what the doctor says.   

Lack of interpreting support further compounds their struggles. They may not know they can ask for professional interpreters, find it difficult to access one when needed, or even understand them if interpreters don’t speak their dialect.   

As a result, people who speak little or no English face significant barriers and delays in receiving care, putting them at a disadvantage and contributing to health inequalities. Healthwatch England’s report outlines key recommendations to improve access to health care services for these populations.