National Patient Participation Week 2023: Language services for the NHS

5-9 June 2023 is National Patient Participation Week and, as a language services provider to the NHS, we wanted to highlight the vital role our interpreters and translators play in empowering patients who don’t speak English fluently/confidently.

As NHS England says:

“Evidence tells us that supporting patients to be actively involved in their own care, treatment and support can improve outcomes and experience for them, and potentially yield efficiency savings for the system through more personalised commissioning and supporting people to stay well and manage their own conditions better.”

NHS England has made a commitment to become much better at involving patients (and their carers) by:

  • giving them the power to manage their own health and make informed decisions about their care and treatment;
  • and supporting them to improve their health and give them the best opportunity to lead the life that they want.

When it comes to making informed decisions and taking control of their own health, patients need to be able to fully understand the information and advice they are being given and this is where we come in for non-native speakers.

The Language Shop (tls) is the exclusive provider of fully managed language services (including spoken language, BSL interpreting and translation both remotely and face-to-face) to several NHS Trusts. As a social enterprise, we have social values around patient care and access at our core and our years of experience in the public sector means we also understand the pressures NHS staff are under. That’s why we ensure that, when an interpreter is needed, both staff and patients have instant access to the right people with the right skills and languages via things like our innovative on-ward tablet-based interpreter booking system.

We also build patient feedback mechanisms and multi-media patient communication into our NHS contract work to maximise their involvement not just in their care but also in their language support.

Want to find out more about our work with NHS Trusts? Get in touch.