Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

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Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  southernbelle on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:07 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21547513
It beggars belief that the authorities have taken this long to realise how bad this problem is. As a student nurse over 30yrs ago I was "translating" between Drs and patients. And this was in psychiatry where good understanding is vital as there are few physical signs or symptoms.
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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  cyfrifia on Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:45 pm

Doctors who have very little English, but do have skills may be useful one way and the other, on fixed term contracts, but, should not be inflicted directly on patients. It's bad enough being ill without that. If they subsequently learn good English, all well and good.

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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  Hinch on Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:53 pm

I have been a nurse since 1977 and they have been talking about schemes like this and have introduced various requirements since then. It seems that some of them haven't reached all the parts.

To be fair, I have seen BIG improvements over the years and have only had problems once or twice; mainly with GP's 'Out of Hours' or locum services. I can't honestly recall an incident in the last twenty years where I have had a communication issue. Maybe I've just been lucky or have found better ways of making myself understood.

In psychiatry, many of the nurses also came from overseas to train with varying proficiences in speaking English where it was often more vital on a day to day basis than in general medicine. In psychiatry, I found out that some of these nurses didn't have a clue about the social and cultural backgrounds of many of the patients who they were supposed to understand and support on a fairly intensive basis... at least on acute admissions wards.

In my class-year, there were two guys who came from villages in Zimbabwe , had literally flown in by plane the day before the course started and had no insight whatsoever into Western cultures apart from what they had picked up from watching Terminator and other Arnie products. They were lovely guys but hadn't a clue.

On Day One, the tutors showed us a film on the development of psychiatry in the UK over the past 300 years. Woodcuts of the old asylums such as Bedlam with patients chained to the wall etc. At the discussion at the end, it was apparent that these two blokes hadn't realised that it was a historical production and one of them asked where we got the chains from and about giving out beatings! I jest ye not!

This was back in the late-80's. Hopefully things have improved!
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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  Jeanie on Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:33 pm

The amount of money spent on translators for patients is phenomenal !!!
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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  cyfrifia on Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:18 pm

Patients who can't speak the same language as the doctor do need translators, the same applies in other situations, like courts, for prisoners and for juries. When added up, all the background and ongoing inevitable expense of properly running a multi-lingual, multi-cultural society are phenomenal. All well and good if it's what people choose to do, but, the idea we used to hear so much, that an immigrant society has great economic advantage doesn't add up, does it? The UK is a global sort of place, and immigration and emigration is a part if that, but, it has it's financial, and social, swings and roundabouts.

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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  Jeanie on Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:35 pm

cyfrifia wrote:Patients who can't speak the same language as the doctor do need translators, the same applies in other situations, like courts, for prisoners and for juries. When added up, all the background and ongoing inevitable expense of properly running a multi-lingual, multi-cultural society are phenomenal. All well and good if it's what people choose to do, but, the idea we used to hear so much, that an immigrant society has great economic advantage doesn't add up, does it? The UK is a global sort of place, and immigration and emigration is a part if that, but, it has it's financial, and social, swings and roundabouts.

I know some patients need translators but my time in the NHS over 32 years I saw it was greatly abused ! some would try to get me to sign forms stating they had been there a lot longer than they actually were others would try to claim fares when a relative had brought them .
I actually had to go to the restaurant for one translator who said he wasn't coming until he had his dinner and then claimed it back on expenses Shocked
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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  cyfrifia on Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:44 pm

Yes, they do take the mickey, don't they.

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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  southernbelle on Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:33 am

Its the poor English of the Drs I was talking about, its ludricrus to suggest that the patients should require a translator because the Dr cant speak the native language of the country that employs them.
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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  Hinch on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:00 am

The reality is that a large group of patients; Muslim women, also sometimes have little or no English but I broadly agree with SB, the answer is certainly not to spend millions of NHS money on translators.

My own experience of doctors is that the issue is over-exaggerated. However, competency in the lingo of the host-country should be an essential pre-requisite prior to taking up employment.
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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  cyfrifia on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:55 am

There are two kinds of communication doctors need.

Between themselves and other health workers,
and
Between themselves and patients.

Between themselves and patients is perhaps more difficult, as it is more general, more random, and more culturally complicated.





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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  mary ann on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:15 am

Whilst on holiday abroad my husband was taken ill. Despite showing proof of insurance I had to pay £60 in cash before they would take him out of the ambulance and into the hospital. Once inside I was expected to pay for any translations necessary. Fortunately I did not need to, but that is not the point.

Why, with the NATIONAL Health Service should we employ and treat outsiders free of charge and even pay for translations where necessary? If people are resident in this country then they should ensure they have basic language skillso get by on a daily basis. I have friends and family who live abroad and they do not get free translations as part of their residency. Why do we employ doctors who can not do their job because their English skills are not adequate?

Why do we allow others to make mugs of us as taxpayers and idiots of our services by caring for the world and his dog at our expense?

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Re: Doctors speaking English? Brilliant idea, should have thought of it years ago.

Post  cyfrifia on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:47 am

mary ann wrote:Why do we allow others to make mugs of us as taxpayers and idiots of our services by caring for the world and his dog at our expense?

A relevant question. Why do we? The reason and psychology behind it is a puzzle. Maybe it's just the tides of history we are swept along on without understanding.

Some of it seems to be to do with changes of government, right to left and back again. Politicians get so stressed about it that when they get into power are more determined to follow their agenda than caring about the effect it has.

Some of the papers now are predicting an unmanageable crime wave heading our way with new immigrants from a now enlarged and unstable Europe. Going by track record, the government had no idea how many Polish people would arrive, so, that's a wait and see.

The UK does seem to leap in the deep end with little comprehension of what the result will be, a pity when we see the NHS and the other setups in society that we value being overwhelmed.


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