How to avoid the pitfalls when a patient needs the help of an interpreter

Why language and communication should not be barriers to a patient receiving quality care
  • Patients' language and communication requirements should not prevent them from receiving quality care

  • Good interpreters can clarify issues that might otherwise be lost in translation

  • Differences between interpreting and translating explained

‘Patients should be able to access primary care services in a way that ensures their language and communication requirements do not prevent them receiving the same quality of healthcare as others.’

So states the first principle in guidance on interpreting and translation services set out by NHS England.

The guidance sets out best practice and warns that ‘not being able to communicate well with health


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