Communicating with your GP now even easier as new interpretation and translation service launches

Patients will benefit from a new interpretation and translation service which launches in GP practices across Surrey Heartlands tomorrow (Tuesday 1 October).

Leading language service provider, thebigword, will deliver the new service which will give people free access to telephone and face-to-face interpretation, the option to receive information in different formats like Easy Read or Braille and in different languages, and also support people with communication challenges - for example, people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Ahead of the launch staff across GP practices across East Surrey, Guildford and Waverley, North West Surrey and Surrey Downs have been receiving training to support patients with their individual communications needs.

Dr Charlotte Canniff, a local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We want to make sure patients are able to communicate with their GP or health care professional and understand what they are being told about their care, which is crucial for people to live a happy and healthy life.

“We’re really pleased that thebigword will be delivering and managing this service which will make sure that people can get information in the way they need it, allowing them to make the right decision for their health.”

The new service was developed after local CCGs spoke to community groups, patients, organisations who support people to communicate (for example those who may provide specific training like British Sign Language training or provide guidance for different communities) as well as staff within GP practices. After listening to feedback the CCGs’ were able to design a service to meet the needs of residents.

thebigword was appointed by NHS Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Groups following a competitive procurement process. As part of delivering the new service they will work with other local organisations to offer a range of support tailored to individual needs.