RedArc, the third-party nurse service often included as an added-value benefit within employee benefits and insurance policies, has launched a new initiative that it says will allow it to better serve people for whom English is not easily understood.
In a new partnership with LanguageLine Solutions (LLS), RedArc service users will now have “instant access to on-demand interpreters in over 200 languages”, to assist them during calls and communications.
Christine Husbands, Managing Director of RedArc Nurses, said that serious illnesses, trauma and bereavement are a difficult time for anyone and misunderstandings frequently occur when English is not the first language.
She said: “These misunderstandings are amplified. Also, some ethical minorities or marginalised groups suffer disproportionately with issues such as mental health, so it is vital that we make our services as accessible as possible to support everyone that needs our help.”
THE IMPACT ON HEALTH OF LANGUAGE BARRIERS
Nearly a million people in the UK are not able to speak English “well” or “at all” –
Figures from the Office of National Statistics data for England and Wales show that a third (35%) of people who were non-proficient English speakers were not in good health, compared to just one in 10 who could speak English well.
Husbands said that LLS was selected because its technology dovetailed well with RedArc’s existing telephone support and also because they have a specialism in healthcare.
LLS was initially formed as a charity to support patient and staff communication at an east London hospital.
Husbands said it was also important for RedArc to work with an organisation that could understand the “extremely sensitive” nature of the conversations we have with people and also to find an interpreter for whom medical terminology was second nature.
She said: “This move helps us to be more inclusive so that everyone has an equal opportunity to benefit from our services, no matter what their preferred language.”
Callers to the service are given a unique ID code which allows them to dial in to LLS and RedArc, facilitating a three-way call where the patient’s communication is interpreted to RedArc and the nurse’s dialogue is interpreted back to the patient. All interpreters are tested and security-cleared and no calls are recorded.