Interpreting and Translation Services within the HSC


Have your say in the future of Interpreting and Translation Services within the HSC in Northern Ireland Consultation

The HSCB has commissioned a review on Interpreting and Translation services for health and social care in Northern Ireland.

All Trusts including Belfast Trust have been represented on a designated steering group during the process of the review, as have representatives from community organisations and the Patient and Client Council. The review concluded in June 2013 and identified a number of changes and recommendations that are required to ensure a cost effective and high quality service in the future.

The recommendations have now been finalised on the basis of the review findings and public consultation started on 16 September 2013 and will conclude on 13 December 2013.

Consultation Documents:

Consultation on Future Arrangements for Language Interpreting and Translation Services for Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland

Review of Regional Language Interpretation and Translation Services

Read more about the Regional Interpreting and Translation Service

Currently language interpreting through face to face interpreting is provided through the Belfast Trust with back up face to face interpreting and telephone interpreting contracts through the BSO Procurement and Logistics Service (PaLS). Written translation services are also provided by BSO PaLS.

The Northern Ireland HSC Interpreting Service provides face-to-face interpreting which is free of charge to HSC practitioners and patients. The Service also delivers training to staff across the region on how to work well with interpreters.

Demand for the face to face interpreting via the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Interpreting Service has increased radically: when the service began in 2004 it had 823 requests in the year. In 2012, the service received over 74,547 requests in the year. The service has continued to effectively meet the considerable increase in demand across the region despite operating on a relatively modest and unchanged annual budget of £168,000 and a very small cohort of office based staff, and some 400 self-employed sessional interpreters in a range of 36 languages.

The review recognises the hard work and high quality of the service provided through Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. The aim is to identify a sustainable solution for the Regional Interpreting Service to develop the legacy built in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and ensure the service is fit for purpose for the future.

Following the consultation, the HSCB will consider all the responses before making its decision on the future of Interpreting and Translations for the Health and Social Care family of organisations.