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Volume 476: debated on Monday 19 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on interpreters in the last 12 months; and on which languages. (202740)

The Department does not collect information on the costs for language interpreters. The requirement for language interpreters is at a local level. In some locations where there are sizeable black and minority ethic communities, spending by national health service organisations on language interpreters will be significant.

NHS organisations are not required to report their planned or actual spending on interpretation and translation services to the Department. As a result, there is no information on overall NHS spending on this service.

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.