Combating COVID19 – How Video Interpreting can support our NHS staff

The NHS is an asset to the morale of our country, providing efficient, high quality, healthcare. The preservation of the NHS has never been more important as we grapple with the effects of COVID-19.

As an interpreting agency working with the NHS, our primary role is to aid and promote the inclusivity by enabling cross-culture communication.   But the role that we play in helping to increase the efficiency of the NHS is often underrepresented. In the last long-term NHS plan, an ambitious saving of £700 million of taxpayers’ money was proposed, and the way that our language services are utilised play a vital role in achieving this figure.

In the last three financial years alone, the NHS has spent upwards of £60 million on translation services. Face to face interpreting often comes with a minimum booking time and a fixed hourly rate, leaving little room for budget flexibility.

Video interpretation, however, can bring a welcome breath of fresh air from the constraints of face to face interpreting. By bringing the freedom back to language services, remote video interpreting can help the NHS reach their savings target by working concurrently to benefit the Healthcare sector in as many ways as possible.

  • No minimum booking times, our clients only pay for the minutes that an interpreter is utilised for.
  • Confidentiality and Privacy is preserved through the use of professional native speakers who do not live locally but yet observe the strict interpreter Code of Conduct. Perfect in the case of some tight knit local communities.
  • Built in translation option, if a video interpreter is pre-booked, we have built in an option which requests a same-day translation of a letter and/or email to be sent to the patient informing them of the appointment and how to access the session.
  • Flexibility, although there is the option to pre-book interpreters, video interpreting requests can be put through spontaneously, eliminating any unnecessary cancellation costs.
  • Multiple participants / 3-way calls – if the appointment requires multiple health professionals – i.e a consultant and a mental health practitioner – they can all be connected through into one call, reducing the need for multiple contact and improving the efficiency of patient treatment.
  • International contact, being as our video interpreting technology can be used to contact patient’s families, who don’t always reside within the UK, and speciality doctors abroad at no extra cost to the client.
  • No PPE required, by having the interpreter connect remotely to a patient, no PPE is required for the session to be carried out safely and successfully.

When the movement from more traditional styles of interpreting, like face to face, to digital language services is made, there are clear economic benefits for the healthcare sector.

By targeting multiple areas where other language mediums fail, including other remote services such as telephone interpreting, video interpreting creates a multi-faceted response ensuring economic savings while still preserving a high quality of interpreting. If the language industry dedicates itself to the cause of achieving the savings target put forward by the latest long-term NHS plan, we place ourselves at the forefront of the “technology revolution” that Matt Hancock referred to last year and show our commitment to providing support to the vital research carried out by the NHS.




Written by Portia C

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