Stronger Together Policy briefing on Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Interpreting Service (NIHSCIS)
Following reports from a number of member groups that some GP practices are not providing face-to-face interpreting for patients we have provided this policy briefing. We have contacted the Health and Social Care (HSC) Business Services Organisation which has responsibility to provide a broad range of regional business support functions and specialist professional services including Interpreting Services to the health and social care sector.
BSO stated that HSC Providers have a legal obligation to provide Patients access to Interpreting Services. “The Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Interpreting Service (NIHSCIS) is the first point of contact for all (HSC) face to face language interpreting. NIHSCIS is managed and administered as a regional Shared Service by the HSC Business Services Organisation. All HSC Providers have access to face to face interpreting services via NIHSCIS. HSC Providers have a legal duty to ensure access to services for Patients who do not speak English proficiently and language require language assistance”
NIHSCIS has been in operation since June 2004 and has processed over 900,000 interpreting requests to date. NIHSCIS is free of charge to HSC Practitioners and Patients. The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) covers the cost for all HSC interpreting (provided through NIHSCIS). HSCB also covers the cost of telephone interpreting provided via the Big Word Telephone Interpreting Service. Please find below the link for HSC criteria for face to face/telephone interpreting.
if you are not getting appropriate language support, outlined below are the contact details for BSO: Complaints.email@example.com or write to
BSO 2 Franklin Street
Tel: 030 0555 0113
Complaints can also be made to the Patient Client Council, an independent voice patients, clients, carers and communities on health and social care issues.