An undercover sting by voluntary medical watchdog Healthwatch Islington has revealed shocking results about language support services within Islington’s GP surgeries.
In a study by Healthwatch Islington, volunteers went to all 36 GP surgeries pretending to be new patients who did not speak English.
Just one – St Peter’s Street Medical Practice, in Islington – offered an interpreter.
The rest had no help, and 19 told them to go away and come back with a friend or relative who could speak English.
One resident told us how it made them feel:
‘They see us struggling to communicate – why don’t they use the telephone interpreting?’
Emma Whitby of Healthwatch Islington said: “Interpreting services are available to all GP practices in the borough, at no cost to individual practices”
So why are services so sparse?
With no medical providers willing to comment, City Vibe went to speak to local community support groups to find out how people in their communities had been affected.
A spokesman for the IMECE Women’s Centre, an organisation that works with Turkish, Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot women who are often refugees, told City Vibe:
“This is a huge issue for our community and for women in particular, especially in domestic violence cases where the husband and the husband’s family can control the domestic violence survivor through the interpreting.
Listen below to City Vibe‘s extended package:
Do you know anyone who’s had difficulties with Islington’s translation services? Or have a strong opinion? Comment below or tweet us @cityviberadio!