HOSPITAL STUNG BY BLAST FROM ETHNIC GROUPS; Row Erupts over Language Services

Article excerpt

Byline: By Steve Evans

IMMIGRANTS who have settled in Nuneaton and Bedworth have hit out over interpretation and translation services in the borough.

They say family members - especially children - should not be used as interpreters at hospitals, GP surgeries and dental practices.

And they have singled out Nuneaton's George Eliot Hospital for particular criticism.

But the hospital has hit back, insisting it takes "very seriously" its role in a multicultural society.

Also in line for criticism are agencies like the Nuneaton and Bedworth Citizens' Advice Bureau, whose boss maintains staff are "very sensitive" to the needs of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups in the borough.

David Gooding, manager of Nuneaton and Bedworth Citizens' Advice Bureau, said his staff were seeing an increase in people from the Polish community.

"Though their English is not good, we manage to communicate," he said.

"Translators are expensive and we are a drop-in service.

We can't have translators on standby on the offchance that someone is going to come in."

The criticisms have been made by the Nuneaton and Bedworth BME Consultation Forum, part of the Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership.

Aseia Rafique, a race equality officer with the partnership, said: "A major issue concerned interpretation and translation services.

"Comments at the Nuneaton and Bedworth forum showed that family members and especially children should not be used as interpreters at hospitals, GP surgeries, dental practices, etc. …