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Volume 455: debated on Thursday 18 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much was spent by the NHS on interpreters in the last year for which figures are available; (114220)

(2) what recent estimate she has made of the amount of money spent by the NHS on providing information in foreign languages; and if she will make a statement.

National health service organisations are not required to report their planned or actual spending on interpretation and translation services to the Department. Therefore, it is not possible to provide an estimate of spending at this time.

When planning interpretation and translation services, NHS organisations should take due account of their legal duties, the composition of the communities they serve, and the needs and circumstances of their patients, service users and local populations.

The Government have established the independent Commission on Integration and Cohesion to look at Government policies and public services and to report in 2007. As part of its brief, the commission will look at the provision of language services across Government. The Department will fully support the commission in its work.