Research from Health2020 has revealed some facts behind the costs of translation for the NHS – as well as some of the real life stories behind the facts. Translation companies such as Convocco Ltd have helped organisations like the NHS to reduce the overall costs as a % of their annual budget.
The headline figures from the survey included:
· Trusts spent £23.3 million pounds on translation services last year.
· The NHS has spent £64.4 million on translation services in the last three financial years, a £9.4 million (17%) increase from 2007/8 – 2009/10.
· This amount equates to £59k per day.
· London Trusts comprised only 15% of the Trusts surveyed, but were responsible for 31% of the total spend.
· 45% of Trusts could not break down the cost of written translation.
An important factor in the need for translation services provided by companies like Convocco is the growing diversity of the population. As a spokesperson for Barts hospital stated “The Trust serves areas with more than 140 languages spoken so offering access to an interpreter is a crucial part of assisting patients whose first language is not English”
Effective translation services can actually have an effect on the health and mortality of the communities served by NHS hospitals and Trusts. Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups historically have poorer health than the overall population, and higher morbidity and mortality in disadvantaged groups and areas are key drivers of poor average outcomes for cervical, colorectal and breast cancer. Though there are a variety of socio-economic and cultural contributors to health inequalities, good communication is a critical factor in improving patient education and access to services, which play a major role in narrowing the health gap.
Translating leaflets and arranging for clinics and prevention activities to non-English speakers in these communities can help save lives – and translation organisations like Convocco can help by managing all the required translation services required: from written translations through to face-to-face translations. Translation services are not limited to telephone-based work only.
Overall costs appear not to be increasing over the last two years, which indicates they are falling as an overall percentage of the NHS budget. The cost of written translations has fallen noticeably –as demonstration that a competitive translation market has brought benefits to the public sector.