Hospitals and GP surgeries spend £1m a year on translators
LOCAL hospitals and GP surgeries are spending £2,531 a day on translators, almost twice as much as that spent by those in the Belfast Health and Social Trust.
The cost to the taxpayer has risen by 23% over the past two years, with the Southern Health Board revealed as the biggest spender in the North.
The local health board spent £924,136 on written translation and interpreters last year. The next highest spender was the Belfast Health Board which incurred £536,462 in costs.
A spokesperson from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust blamed the high costs on the ‘significant inward migration’ that has taken place in recent years.
She said that Dungannon had one of the largest ethnic minority populations in Northern Ireland.
Approximately 7 percent of the Dungannon population are from ethnic minorities, more than twice the Northern Ireland average which stands at 3%.
“Provision of language assistance is a legal requirement under the Race Relations Order”, said the spokesperson.
“The Trust is committed to ensuring that everyone is given equal access to information about services in a format they can understand. This is an essential part of providing safe, high quality care to all our patients and clients.
“The Southern Trust’s population is now the second largest in Northern Ireland and is projected to grow by 13.5% by 2020.
“The Trust’s ethnic minority population is likely to increase significantly by 2020 as our birth rates are high and are projected to continue to keep growing in the next few years.
“We will continue to take reasonable measures to ensure that we provide safe, high quality care to all our patients and clients.”
According to latest figures, Dungannon’s population is the fastest growing in Northern Ireland, rocketing at a rate four times higher than the Northern Ireland average.
The district’s annual percentage rise of 2.3 is almost twice as high as the next highest increase of 1.4 in the Craigavon District, and means that the district is now bigger than Coleraine, Antrim and Omagh in terms of the number of residents.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Dungannon
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South east