A total of £300,000 has been spent on employing translators for non-English speaking patients at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds in the last three years a Freedom of Information request has revealed. 

The hospital has spent almost £100,000 per year for the last three years. Although this is surely better than having patients being treated improperly and suffering because of it.

The East Anglian Daily Times reports:

Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request show the Bury St Edmunds-based hospital has paid out £96,469 in the past year alone on translating services. This is compared to Ipswich Hospital, which spent just £14,424 on similar services during the same period.

Most of Suffolk’s hospitals provide translation services via an agency and do not employ interpreters directly. West Suffolk’s translators are employed by CINTRA – one of the UK’s leading translation providers to the public and private sectors.

Last night, a spokesman for the hospital defended the budget for the service, which he said “fulfilled a duty” under the Race Relations and Equality Acts to ensure everyone had equal access to the hospital’s facilities.

You can read the full story here. 

I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.