Who is University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust?

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) sees and treats more than 2.2 million people every year and delivers more babies than anywhere else in Europe. 

The trust operates the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Edgbaston as well as number of other hospitals and smaller satellite units throughout the region, employing more than 20,000 staff. The QEH is a regional centre for cancer, trauma, renal dialysis, burns, HIV and AIDS, as well as respiratory conditions. 

The challenge

The UHB Trust operates over major sites in the West Midlands including Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Solihull Hospital, Heartlands Hospital, and Good Hope Hospital, treating more than 2 million patients a year. 

With such large numbers of service users in vast facilities, it’s crucial that the Trust is able to offer equitable access of services across all sites in a particularly diverse region of the UK. 

Rising costs and increasing pressure on resources meant that UHB was looking for an end-to-end service provider that offered guidance and could implement Trust-wide improvements immediately with measurable results. 

UHB was dealing with a failing supply from its incumbent language services provider, especially in support of deaf patients, and urgently needed to find a high-quality alternative, with an assurance of supply.

To reflect its ethos of adopting digital solutions to drive efficiencies, UHB also wanted a partner with comprehensive technologies across all services and who shared its vision for continual innovation over the life of the contract.

Exceeded every target by at
least 4.9%

Savings of more than £63,000

in 2017 alone


Achieved shift to 42% telephone interpreting bookings


Fully managed service covering every accessibility need


Delivered via advanced, integrated Wordskii software


24 hour access to all services

How Word360 helped

With 30 years’ experience in supporting the NHS, Word360 is now the largest provider of interpreting and translation services across the Midlands.

As UHB wanted our new services to transition within weeks, our local professional interpreter network was critical in mobilising services quickly and effectively. 

Word360 became the sole provider of a fully managed service for UHB, under which agreement we provide: 

  • Face-to-face interpreting
  • Telephone interpreting (on-demand and pre-booked)
  • Video interpreting (on-demand and pre-brooked)
  • Non-spoken communication (BSL)
  • Document translation and transcription
  • Ancillary services such as Braille, large print and Moon 

With a dedicated contract manager and comprehensive implementation plan, UHB received full coverage within two weeks, immediately allowing them to exceed all of their accessibility requirements.

UHB had full and immediate access to our roster of enhanced DBS-checked linguists through Wordskii, with experience working in NHS and other healthcare settings. 

The Trust was keen to encourage digital alternatives to face-to-face interpreting. Our long-term plan included a comprehensive strategy to educate staff to make ‘informed choices’ on the best mode of interpreting to use for their appointments, either telephone, video or in person.  

Word360 became a familiar, flexible and reliable service provider for UHB, and made use of our extensive expertise in the healthcare sector to provide a high quality of service. 

We facilitate approximately 2,500 bookings every month in as many as 104 different languages across 4 different sites and throughout wider community services. 

The results



Face-to-face Interpreting contracted requirements of 95%. Actual Performance of 99.9%. 



Telephone Interpreting contracted requirements of 95%. Actual Performance of 99.9%. 



Video Interpreting contracted requirements of 95%. Actual Performance of 100%. 



Non-Spoken Language Services contracted requirements of 95%. Actual Performance of 100%. 



Translation and Transcription Services contracted requirements of 95%. Actual Performance of 100%. 

UHB has now successfully transitioned to 42% telephone interpreting bookings, resulting in savings of more than £63,000 in 2017 alone. 

In 2018, the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust merged with UHB, and Word360 took over supply for the additional sites too. 

Through our services, UHB has managed to meet or exceed every single one of its accessibility targets and we have exceeded on all of our contractual performance targets. 

Since the start of the contract, all complaints relating to the provision of D/deaf support services have stopped due to our continued community relationships with specialist D/deaf support organisations and increased training for all UHB staff.

Download the full case study

Learn how we saved Birmingham NHS Foundation more than £60k in a year.