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Health should be accessible to all at point of delivery - Ramsey

19 November, 2012 - by Sue Ramsey

Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey has said that the £5m spent on translation services is necessary to make “the health service accessible to all at the point of delivery.”

The West Belfast MLA, who is also Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee, has said that the use of volunteers for the post should be looked into, however this is not a viable option for 24-hour service.

Speaking today Ms Ramsey said:

“Translation services within the health service provide an essential service allowing for patients where English is not the first language to be treated effectively and quickly.

“The amount of money spent while looking excessive is a reflection of the demand for this service. I would be of the opinion that translation services would not be called upon if it were not required.

“Saying that we should examine where we may address the needs of those who require translation in a more efficient manner, for example training staff in other languages, the use of volunteers and indeed the way the current translation providers are contracted.

“However what we must ensure is that we have an accessible health service for all. This is especially the case at the point of delivery and must remain so.”

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