Hidden drain on the NHS

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There was a couple of letters in Thursday’s Star about the Governments intention to help immigrants to speak our language.

I am glad to see that people are feeling able to discuss these sensitive issues more as I was beginning to think that the freedom of speech our country was so famous for was becoming a thing of the past.

In this vein I have a few comments to add.

I am not very good with languages, I managed a smattering of French and German at school but in the 1950s it seemed highly unlikely that I would ever need to use them.

As a result I have never been abroad. I simply did not think it fair to expect other people to understand my language if I could not manage theirs!

I would also find my efforts to make myself understood extremely embarrassing, so I thought I’d stay here, where I felt safe and confident.

No longer. The country I grew up in feels like a foreign place now, people jabber away at high volume to invisible people on hands-free phones making sounds I can not even break down into anything recognisable, so I feel totally alienated.

The thing that I found unbelievable was that the NHS is spending millions of pounds on interpreters when it is supposedly struggling to provide adequate healthcare. Surely this is not a health question?

Anyone, not just Muslim women please, coming into this country long-term needs to be able to communicate with lots of different agencies not just within the NHS, so surely, making sure they have interpretation in place and language tuition should be a first line priority for the immigration service?

I know its just shuffling cash from one department to another but at least it’s not a hidden drain on the NHS budget.

Anne Johnson

Born and bred Sheffielder