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Written Question
Health Services: Standards
Wednesday 8th May 2024

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the public consultation on updating the NHS constitution is brought to the attention of individuals whose first language is not English.

Answered by Lord Markham - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department is committed to supporting people from all backgrounds in accessing the NHS Constitution consultation, in part by ensuring the consultation is well publicised and reaches multiple audiences, including those whose first language is not English.

While there are no plans to publish the consultation in additional languages, the Department is working at pace to publish an easy-read version. The simplified language will make the information more accessible for a broader audience, which may support those whose first language is not English, to access and respond to the consultation.


Written Question
Health Services: Standards
Wednesday 8th May 2024

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether the public consultation on updating the NHS constitution, published on 30 April, is available in languages other than English, and if so, in which languages.

Answered by Lord Markham - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department is committed to supporting people from all backgrounds in accessing the NHS Constitution consultation, in part by ensuring the consultation is well publicised and reaches multiple audiences, including those whose first language is not English.

While there are no plans to publish the consultation in additional languages, the Department is working at pace to publish an easy-read version. The simplified language will make the information more accessible for a broader audience, which may support those whose first language is not English, to access and respond to the consultation.


Written Question
NHS: Translation Services
Wednesday 27th September 2023

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether the scoping review of issues and options for improving community languages translation and interpretation services in the NHS has been completed; and if not, when it is expected to be completed, and when the detailed terms of reference and timetable for this review will be published.

Answered by Lord Markham - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Team in NHS England are completing a scoping and options review of the most effective and appropriate national interventions to facilitate improvements in community language translation, and interpretation services, to meet the needs of communities; and support equitable access, experience, and outcomes for all.

The team are aiming to complete the scoping and options appraisal in November 2023 and to agree recommendations in March 2024. There has not been a decision regarding the publication of the terms of reference.


Written Question
Maternity Services: Languages
Thursday 27th April 2023

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether all printed information and advice provided to women who are pregnant or in labour about specific conditions and procedures which may be required at short notice are available in languages other than English; and if so, in which languages.

Answered by Lord Markham - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The language and format of information available at short notice to women who are pregnant or in labour about specific conditions and procedures vary, as this is often locally produced in line with the needs of the local population. NHS England has developed some information nationally, which is available in English alongside Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish and Urdu. It is also available in spoken formats including British Sign Language.


Written Question
Health Services: Translation Services
Monday 6th March 2023

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask His Majesty's Government how they monitor compliance with the 'Guidance for Commissioners: Interpreting and Translation Services in Primary Care', published by NHS England in September 2018.

Answered by Lord Markham - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department does not monitor compliance with this guidance. However, when commissioners, NHS Regions and integrated care boards commission interpreting and translation services for their areas, those contracts would be governed in line with National Health Service guidance and professional standards.


Written Question
General Practitioners: Interpreters
Tuesday 1st December 2020

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have provided guidanceto GP practices about the responsibility to provide personal protect equipment to public service interpreters who are needed for face-to-face patient appointments; and if not, what plans they have to provide such guidance immediately.

Answered by Lord Bethell

We expect personal protective equipment (PPE) to be made available for interpreters working across any healthcare setting, including in general practice, when delivering face to face services. Public Health England publish extensive guidance on infection prevention and control which sets out the PPE that should be used when providing clinical/personal care. The standard operating procedures issued to general practice reference this guidance and also sets out additional guidance on the provision of services to people requiring interpreters and/or translation provision.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Ethnic Groups
Monday 27th July 2020

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the lack of COVID-19 information and advice in relevant languages on the death rate among BAME communities.

Answered by Lord Bethell

We have not made such an assessment. The Government has provided a wide range of guidance to support the country in tackling COVID-19 and considerable efforts are now underway to address that including work with stakeholder groups to help ensure messages are disseminated into different communities in culturally appropriate ways. For example, in Leicester, assets have been translated into 12 different languages, and a range of local community voices, such as faith leaders and local general practitioners, are engaged in supporting the campaign.


Written Question
NHS: Interpreters
Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask Her Majesty's Government who is responsible for providing personal protective equipment to public service interpreters working on a freelance basis in the NHS.

Answered by Lord Bethell

Everybody working on the front line deserves to have the equipment they need to do their job safely and the Government is working around the clock to ensure enough supply is reaching the health and social care sector.

The provision of personal protective equipment to staff is the responsibility of individual hospitals.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Monday 15th June 2020

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have updated the translated COVID-19 guidance to reference the addition of the loss of taste and smell to the official symptoms list; and if so, what steps they are taking to raise awareness of this update in relevant communities.

Answered by Lord Bethell

Following the change to the COVID-19 case definition, guidance documents were updated to include the symptom of a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia). These are provided in the English language, published in an online only format on GOV.UK.

Several guidance documents were updated to include the new symptom. A limited number of original guidance documents were translated into languages other than English. Translated versions of the updated guidance have not been produced as at 5 June 2020. Public Health England is currently reviewing the requirements for translation of new guidance documents and incorporating other updates.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Public Health
Wednesday 6th May 2020

Asked by: Baroness Coussins (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Bethell on 3 March (HL Deb, col 523), what progress they have made in (1) issuing advice and information about COVID-19 to the public in languages other than English, and (2) arranging specific briefings for public service interpreters working in the NHS.

Answered by Lord Bethell

As part of the Government's work to ensure the population are informed about COVID-19 and how best to respond, we have translated the Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) and the COVID 19: guidance on social distancing for everyone in the United Kingdom and protecting older people and vulnerable adults, into a range of languages. These are the critical pieces of guidance that are relevant to a general public audience.

The translations include Arabic (Modern), Bengali, Cantonese, French, Gujarati, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh. These translations can be found online at GOV.UK.

The Government will continue to keep this under review and assess where information needs to be translated into other languages. In the meantime, many local authorities are making arrangements to translate into languages that are widely spoken in their area.

In general, translation and interpretation within National Health Service organisations is commissioned at an organisational level, so it would be down to individual organisations to brief their suppliers of translation and interpretation services.