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Monday 17th June 2019

£23m a year spent on translators

6th February 2012

New figures have shown that the health service spends £23 million a year - £64,000 a day - on interpreters and translations.

Pound Coins

The data, which was compiled by 2020Health, revealed an increase in the amount spent by the NHS on translation services of 17% since 2007.

The think tank's Julia Manning said: "The costs involved are truly staggering in an age of austerity, and incredible when taken in the context of efficiency savings of £20bn across the Health Service."

"Urgent action must be taken by trusts to stem the flow of translation costs, and our report sets out a number of recommendations that would do exactly that without altering the level of care given."

The think tank's report showed Birmingham spent the highest amount on translation services outside of the capital, with £4.9 million paid out in 2008/09-2010/11. 

She said the health service had been informed by "its own patient feedback" that published material which used "simple English" would be better to most users rather than expensive translation services.

She added: "It wouldn't take much effort to drastically cut the £23 million of taxpayers' money that is spent each year on bureaucratic and often duplicated translation fees, and free the money up for treating patients."


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