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Traditionally, GP appointments are made by telephone and very few surgeries provide alternative methods of communication. This means that deaf patients are often excluded from decisions about their healthcare, or don’t visit their GP at all. BILCS is addressing this problem by working in partnership with a local third sector organisation, BID Services, which supports people with a sensory impairment.
The BILCS team has arranged with GP surgeries in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell for patients to contact BID directly to ask for an interpreter to attend their appointment. Therefore, deaf patients have significantly increased their involvement with primary and secondary care, resulting in fewer repeat GP appointments and a reduction in unnecessary A&E attendances and hospital admissions.
One of the most challenging issues in healthcare globally is getting patients to adhere to their treatment. Failing to take medication exactly as directed by a healthcare professional is a major cause of poor clinical outcomes. It can lead to the worsening of long-term conditions and have a detrimental effect on the overall quality of patients’ lives.
BILCS identified an opportunity for community nurses in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell to use telephone interpreting services to support short, regular appointments with vulnerable patients who might not otherwise take their medication as directed. This service has resulted in better patient outcomes, together with cost savings for the NHS, through reducing the length of hospital stays and the number of inappropriate A&E attendances and hospital admissions.
Public sector bodies may procure interpreting and translation services from NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU via a national framework agreement and be confident that their supply is compliant with EU procurement regulations.
For advice on accessing this framework agreement, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org